A Win-Win Strategy: How to Reward Volunteers & Increase Recruitment

Rewarding volunteers is much more than a courteous act. It’s a way of telling them that you appreciate their efforts, motivating them to continue doing good work, and, tangentially, inspiring others to join your mission.

In this post, we’ll uncover how to recognize and reward volunteer efforts in the context of volunteer recruitment, and how to communicate the worth and gratefulness of your volunteers to your team, board, and sponsors. 

Why Volunteer Recruitment Strategies Are Necessary

Failing to plan is a plan to fail.

  • Volunteer recruitment strategies help organizations find and retain volunteers, which is vital for a volunteer program to be successful. A well-designed recruitment strategy can help you get your message out to a wider group of people, and draw in a larger selection of potential volunteers. 
  • Effective volunteer recruitment plans can boost a nonprofit’s reputation and boost its visibility. Advertising volunteer positions can establish ties with new partners and stakeholders. 
  • These strategies are also essential for ensuring the sustainability and longevity of your nonprofit. A robust and involved volunteer base can help an organization accomplish its objectives and have a lasting impression on the community.

Part of your strategy should include volunteer rewards.

Why Rewarding Volunteers Is Important

Rewarding your volunteers is not only polite, but it’s also a strategic move. Showing appreciation for your volunteers’ efforts will lift their spirits, keep them engaged, and make them more likely to recommend your organization to others. Their conversations will bring in new volunteers which will encourage everyone to give more.

Rewarding your volunteers will help you bring new members to the team. This builds a more talented and diverse group of people with varied skills and perspectives that can help you carry out your mission.

How to Reward Your Volunteers

We have a blog that goes into detail about how to get your thanks across to your volunteers. But here’s a quick overview:

  • Send a Detailed End-of-year Appreciation Letter: At the end of every year, it is important to recognize the hard work of your volunteers with a heartfelt, hand-written thank you note.
  • Personal Phone Calls or Text Messages: Showing your appreciation for someone’s work through personal communication can mean the world to them.
  • Recognition Awards: A prize doesn’t need to be extravagant; a simple badge of recognition is enough in some cases.
  • Social Media Recognition: Creating posts like these doesn’t take much effort, but it can mean a lot to people who are devoted to helping out with your cause.
  • Merchandise Gifts: Branded items like t-shirts, pens, and tote bags are a great way to say thank you while raising awareness of your organization.
  • Gift Cards: Allow your volunteers to select their treats by giving them a gift card.
  • Exclusive Access at Events: Offer something special to volunteers at your events like a special chance to get involved in something exclusive.
  • Donations in their Honor: Show some love for the causes your volunteers care about by donating in their name.
  • Tickets to Local Events: Showing gratitude with access to local culture or sports events is an awesome idea!
  • Flowers or Plants: Sending a bouquet, or even better, a long-lasting plant, to a volunteer’s home or workplace is a thoughtful way to show your appreciation.
  • Lunch With a Leader: This gives them a chance to chat and share their thoughts directly.
  • LinkedIn Recommendations: Giving LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements can be a great boost to any professional’s development and career growth.
  • Surprise Parties: Spoil your volunteers with a surprise celebration! Give awards, play games, and provide snacks.
  • Volunteer Outings: Take some time to hang out with your volunteers casually – a team dinner, a game night, a group class – whatever works for you!‍
  • Educational Opportunities: Giving volunteers chances to learn and grow as part of their volunteering role is a great way to help them develop skills that’ll be useful to them.
  • Designated Parking Spots: Providing them with reserved parking is a tangible and practical way to show your appreciation for their hard work.
  • Career Building Opportunities: Demonstrate gratitude for your team’s hard work by providing them with networking opportunities, job shadowing, and mentorship.
  • Job Offers: Have vacancies? Take a peek at your volunteers.

Read more: Volunteer Appreciation to Boost Retention: A Comprehensive Guide

It’s critical, and quite easy, to ensure your volunteers feel acknowledged for their efforts. Make sure to mix up the way you thank them, and don’t forget to do it often – it’ll make them feel appreciated and valued.

About the Author

Geng Wang
CEO, Civic Champs

As CEO of Civic Champs, Geng leads our team of passionate change leaders to create technology solutions to create a seamless and rewarding volunteering experience for both volunteers and service organizations.  ​Prior to Civic Champs, Geng co-founded and sold two companies, RentJungle.com (an apartment search engine), and Community Elf (a social media management firm).  Geng is also a former McKinsey & Company consultant and is a graduate of Michigan State University and Harvard Business School.