Thanking Your Fundraising Volunteers
by Deane Brengle
Despite the fact that thanking your fundraising volunteers should be a real no-brainer, many nonprofit groups let this important gesture fall through the cracks.
It's not rocket science folks. If you don't make the time to say thank you each and every time a fundraising volunteer deserves it, you have lost a golden opportunity. And also probably in perceivably damaged your relationship with them too.
Volunteers really don't want much. Just to be recognized for their good deeds. There is a multitude of ways to say thank you. And most of them are really pretty inexpensive compared to the time and effort donated by your fundraising volunteers.
The volunteer mega-site Energize recommends these sweet ways to say thank you:
- "We handed out rolls of Lifesavers candy with a mailing label stuck to it that read "Thanks for being a lifesaver! This was a simple project that really didn't take much time. We just had to create and print the labels at our office and they fit perfectly on the roll of candy."
- Gold chocolate coins - "Volunteers are worth their weight in gold."
- Andes mints/ peppermint patties - "Your service is worth a mint to us!"
- 100 Grand candy bars - "Volunteers are priceless."
Each and Every Time
Across the big pond, the English volunteering website Volunteering England recommends:
Saying ‘thank you’ is easy, especially if you get into the habit of saying it at the end of every session that the volunteer attends. By thanking volunteers individually, you’re acknowledging their contribution and recognising that they are making a difference, not just to your organisation, but to your clients as well.
Send birthday cards. It's their special day. They won't forget that you remembered.
Send a card at Christmas. Is there any other group that deserves a simple Christmas wish (or to be politically correct "Holiday Greeting" of any religious denomination) more than your volunteers. They epitomize the gift of giving all year long.
Let your volunteers show off. Give framed certificates that recognize their contribution to your group.
Blank certificates can be found at your local big box office supply store as well as the frames.
Write That Note
Write your volunteer a note. Not a form letter. Not with mail merge. But a real, honest to goodness, hand written note.
They're cheap- you can buy them by the box at Amazon.com or at your local big box office supply store.
Be short but specific when writing your note. Mention something that would only apply to that person or something you appreciated about working with them.
How ever you do it - make sure you do it fast. It's best to say thank you within 2 -4 days. Remember this - Thank you is a dish best served right away to make a lasting impression with your fundraising volunteer.
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About the Author:
Deane Brengle is the editor of several free online publications that cover fundraising for small nonprofit groups. You can visit these publications and read more about fundraising in articles by him and other experts in the field at The Fund$Raiser Cyberzine, The Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter, and Fundraising Booklets.
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