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 don’t know about you, but I don’t know 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.  Being appreciated makes me want to do it again.  It doesn’t matter what we are talking about or what the task, the more you feel appreciated, the more you will want to continue doing whatever you are doing.

The time I wasn’t appreciated

I have volunteered to help for various activities in the past, usually church related events. Some of those times my contribution was not appreciated, nor acknowledged.  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.  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 was in a leadership role.  I know people were volunteering their time to help me. We were working together as a team. 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 and they feel empowered.  They want to do a better job.  Often they are willing to expand their ‘duties and responsibilities’ 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, because sincere gratitude can strengthen your team.  Here are some ways you can show appreciation to those who work with and for you:

Some ways to show appreciation

  • 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

What about you? Do you feel appreciated? What are some things that could be said or done to make you feel appreciated? How do you show appreciation others? 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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