Three Ways to Say Two Words – Showing appreciation to your volunteers

In our recent blog “You’ve Got Issues” we urged you to clearly, completely, confidently, and creatively ‘publish’ issues central to the mission of your organization. In doing so, people with common interests will emerge to partner with you towards achieving change. We talked about the great potential that exists when people with like passions achieve synergy in addressing issues.

So, great.

Your Issue Brief has gotten the attention of all the right people. You have a passionate, dedicated, Self Directed Team planning, working, and implementing innovative strategies. Your capacity has multiplied and the reach of your organization has been extended in creative and meaningful ways.

You are moving the needle and seeing changes in your community.

You now realize that not even the sky is a limit. Let’s keep this moving forward!

Psssst. Not so fast! Yes; you have the resources, you have the ideas, you have boots on the ground, and you have accomplished so much. The temptation to steamroll on is valid. The momentum is irresistible!

But before you do, let’s make sure to adopt a cultural practice that will transform the way you interact with your volunteers and keep them highly engaged. That is – learn how to say Thank You in ways that matter.

Think beyond the mugs and appreciation lunches for a minute…

Elementary you may think. But it is a real thing that goes a long way.

We can suggest 3 simple and effective ways to show appreciation to your team of volunteers.

  1. Recognize their work at the highest organizational level. Whether it is a visit from the Executive Director, participation by the CEO, an article feature in a company-wide newsletter, or an opportunity to highlight their work on your website.
  2. Include them in employee morale building activities (e.g. holiday celebrations, etc.). The opportunity to develop relationships provides a sense of both appreciation and belonging. Connect them with your staff. This can turn out to be mutually inspiring!
  3. Give them access to personal/professional development training. Autonomy and purpose are naturally built in to a well-executed Self Directed Volunteer experience. Extend that by including them in training that could enhance their mastery in a given area.

Oh yes! The wonderful feeling that comes from doing what you are passionate about – with a meaningful thank you on top…

Can’t beat it!


To learn more about our work with Self Directed Volunteer Teams, email us at