How to show appreciation to volunteers

Philippians 1:3-5    I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now

I cannot think of anyone who doesn’t like to be appreciated.  I know I like it when do a good job.  It adds value to what I do.  It makes me want to do it again.  It doesn’t matter what we are talking about, the more you feel appreciated, the more you will want to do whatever you are doing.

I have volunteered to help for various activities in the past, usually church related events.  There have been times that my contribution was not appreciated, nor acknowledged.  Now keep in mind, I did not help out for the sake of being recognized for my work.  I did it because I liked to do it, and I did it because I knew God would be happy with me.  But little by little, over time, I started getting frustrated, and eventually quit helping this particular ministry because I was never recognized for my help or sacrifice.   Again, I am not talking about deserving gift cards for my service.  Or having my name announced on Sunday morning to the entire church.  I am talking about a simple “Thanks for your help”, or “You did great, I appreciate that.”  Instead, I got nothing.

The scenario I am speaking of did a lot for me for times I wasn’t a leadership role.  I now people volunteering their time to help me.  The last thing I want to do is make them feel the way I felt during that time.  I know the lack of appreciation led me to remove myself from that situation, and I am just like everyone else: I cannot afford to lose help.

I have found that as I appreciate those around me and the contribution they make, it adds value to what they do. They feel like they are truly helping.  They feel empowered.  They want to do a better job.  They are willing to expand their ‘duties’ and take on new roles.

These things take on even more meaning when you have a true relationship with your team.  It is not just something you say because you need to say it.  The more relationship you have the more you can tailor your appreciation to the individual, and the more meaning it will have with them.

I am very intentional about showing appreciation.  That comes in many different forms, and you do not need to express appreciation to everyone the same way.  The important thing is that you do show appreciation in some way.  Here are some of the things we have done in the past:How to appreciate

  • Gift cards
  • Stationary sets
  • Invited people over for dinner
  • Take them for coffee during the week
  • Send an email after they helped you
  • Brag on them to other people
  • OJ, coffee and donuts the morning they help
  • Thank them verbally or with a handwritten note
  • appreciation pizza lunch

I know this is not a complete list.  There are many other ways you appreciate people.  I am interested to know what you think about appreciation.  What makes you feel appreciated?  How do you show appreciation?  Leave a comment and let me know.


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About the Author

Ron is happily married to his best friend, and dad to the best daughter you could imagine. As a teacher and children's pastor, he has over 20 years experience of teaching, leading, writing, creating and consulting. He has written for churches, contributed to several collaborative publications, and written a #1 Best Selling Devotional, Got Fruit? on Amazon. His blog is consistantly listed in the Top 40 Children's Ministry Blogs and Websites. Don't hesitate to ask if you think he could help you and your ministry in any way.

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