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How to Thank Volunteers for Helping Out

Updated on November 26, 2015
Nanciajohnson profile image

I enjoy painting fantasy art, going to art shows, creating delicious dishes, being with my grandkids, taking walks, and reading good books.

Thank You Volunteers!

I work with so many wonderful volunteers who help me out in so many ways. I currently work for an Homeowners Association as an Activity Director. I have many volunteers who help out with office work, planning future activities, delivering our monthly newspaper, teaching classes and so much more. The most important thing for me to think about on a daily basis is to thank my volunteers for coming in and helping out. Our department would not be able to offer as much as it does without its volunteers.

I also work with other nonprofit agencies such as our local food bank, senior agencies on aging, agencies for presentation speakers and more. Most of these agencies rely heavily on volunteers as well. So many of my informational workshops and presentations that I offer my senior community are presented "free-of-charge" by retired professionals. They all deserve a great big thank you.

I my ways of how I thank my volunteers give you some wonderful ideas on how to thank your volunteers as well.

Photos taken by our volunteer photographer, Bill Kraiger and Nancia!

Volunteers are paid in six figures...


— Gayla LeMaire

Volunteers - We Need You!

Being needed is being thanked too!

At the adult community where I work as an Activity Director, most of our activities and operations are run by resident volunteers. Even our Home Owners Association Board of Directors and committees are volunteer residents. We thank them in advance for moving to our community and getting involved. I put together a brochure that invites new and long-time residents to volunteer at one or more of the many places volunteers are needed.

Everyone has an array of talents, interests and career or life experiences that they may want to share with us. I give them a form to fill out and return to our office with them sharing a little bit about themselves with us. There are needs for volunteers with office skills, customer service skills, computer skills, publishing skills, food service skills, photography skills, decorating skills, business skills, and much more.

I look at their forms and make a serious effort to match their interests and skills with the right volunteer opportunity. I found this is one of the biggest "thank yous" that I can give is to listen to what my volunteer is interested in helping to do, and finding that place for them in our community. We want the volunteer experience here to be rewarding and fun for them.

Brochure design by Nancia

I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.

— William Shakespeare

How to Write Thank You Notes

101 Ways to Say Thank You: Notes of Gratitude for All Occasions
101 Ways to Say Thank You: Notes of Gratitude for All Occasions
I write up "little thank you notes" and put them at each place setting. It is the little things that make a big impression.

Little Thank Yous



Little notes


Flower seeds

Free Tickets

Gift Cards



volunteer lunch
volunteer lunch

How to Put on a Volunteer Appreciation Party

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

In the spring each year, we hold a Volunteer Appreciation Party for all the volunteers who help out throughout the year. We usually expect 250 to 300 volunteers each year. The HOA Board of Directors hosts this event and staff thanks everyone all at once. I cater this event since my food volunteers deserve to be thanked. The office staff decorates the Auditorium since our volunteers deserve to be spoiled. I hire entertainment each year as a treat.

We also give each volunteer a small thank you gift from the HOA. I put several thank you quotes on each table in the form of a thank you note. Some of the quotes are listed here on this lens. These quotes can be found at Quote Garden. They have quotes for all occasions.

Our theme this past lunch was "Volunteers are Priceless". I decorated with helium balloons that said "thank you" and bright colored star balloons. I don't think your thank you party needs to be expensive or fancy, but just that you cared enough to invite those who help you out and recognize them for their time.

Balloons are Inexpensive Decorations

Thank You Balloon Bouquet-6 Mylar
Thank You Balloon Bouquet-6 Mylar
I like using mylar balloons because they add a festive flair and color to our parties. Plus I buy the ones that say Thank You and give them away at the end of the party. Everyone loves a balloon!

The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.

— Terr Guillemets
Volunteer Apron
Volunteer Apron

More Ways to Thank Volunteers

Just some of the many ways to say "thank you"

There are lots of ways to thank volunteers. The most important one that I use ALL the time is saying “thank you”. I can’t say it enough throughout my day. I make a point to thank my volunteers who work the front counter to help other residents or visitors to our community. I tell them thank you every time they come in to work even for a short time.

I make sure I tell each volunteer thank you for whatever specific task they are helping me or the department with. I remind them on how our department and community could not do it without their help and expertise. A volunteer who offers knowledge on a committee is just as important as the volunteer who works Pancake Breakfast every month.

I keep bunches of little thank you notes in my desk drawer to write a quick thank you to a volunteer who helped on a special project. It is my goal to reach all my volunteers with at least one written thank you note each season. If I can do more, I will!

Other things I am able to do, is to give volunteers complimentary tickets to a concert, dance or food event. They love receiving this little token of appreciation too. I also find little thank you gifts through the year to give out to volunteer crews who put on big events such as New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance, Welcome Back Expo and more. As seen in the photo, one of the volunteers is wearing a special apron we gave the food event volunteers to wear proudly.

Pampering your volunteers a bit is a nice “thank you for all you do”! I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who finds some time in their lives to give to others in a huge variety of ways. There are no small things when it comes to volunteerism and volunteers!

Note Card Cafe Thank You Cards with Gray Envelopes | 36 Pack | Damask Thank You | Blank Inside, Glossy Finish | for Greeting Cards, Occasions, Birthdays, Gifts
Note Card Cafe Thank You Cards with Gray Envelopes | 36 Pack | Damask Thank You | Blank Inside, Glossy Finish | for Greeting Cards, Occasions, Birthdays, Gifts
I keep a desk drawer filled with little thank you note cards to use all year around. Sometimes I put in free tickets to an event or you could include a gift card to say "thank you for all you do"!

Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. ~Vol

Blood Drive Volunteer, Alison
Blood Drive Volunteer, Alison

Publicly Thanking Your Volunteers

I put together our monthly community newspaper that can be used as a great way to publicly thank volunteers each month. We have a Volunteer of the Month spotlight featuring a bit about the volunteer; who they are and what they like to do as a volunteer. This article with a photo of the volunteer is popular. I write a column and always include thanking my volunteers who help with whatever event is going on or has just happened that past month.

Timeliness of your thank you is important too, but a thank you any time is appreciated.

If your organization or group does not publish a newspaper, put your volunteer thank you in the company newsletter or better yet, contact the local newspaper of your town and see if they will put a feature article in for you. Local newspapers and even television stations are also always looking for positive human interest stories.

This photo is of a special volunteer, Alison who brings the United Blood Services Blood Drive to our community twice a year. This photo shown here was featured on our community newspaper. I did not tell my volunteer I was featuring her on the cover, and it was a nice thank you surprise to her.

Chocolate Thank You's - One of the best ways to say Thank You!

I have found that I never miss with offering chocolate as a thank you. I even put snack size chocolate bars into our volunteer Clarence's box as his thank you for coming to the office everyday and posting the resident classified cards on the bulletin board. He sure looks forward to finding his "treat" when he stops by the office.

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.

— Elizabeth Andrew
Oktoberfest Volunteer, Heidi; my special friend!
Oktoberfest Volunteer, Heidi; my special friend!

A Special Friend is a Great Volunteer

Last October, my German friend, Heidi came to help me with our Oktoberfest party. She brought authentic german beer signs and decorations from her hometown in Leavenworth, WA. She brought a dirndl outfit for me to wear and helped me decorate the whole room in blue and white. Heidi even assisted me in calling out table numbers in German when it was time to head to the buffet tables. All the residents who attended had lots of fun. Heidi's thank you was to share something special to her with us.

Dankeschon Heidi!

How do you like to be thanked when volunteering? - Or, when doing something for others?

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    • socialcx1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Without the armies of volunteers, the world will be a grim place to live in. Well done to all of them.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      8 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @CristianStan: I so agree, I just received the nicest note from one of my volunteers stating how much she appreciated knowing that her time was so appreciated by others. Thank you for squidliking my lens on How to Thank Volunteers.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The best way to thank anyone, including volunteers is to let them know how much their work meant to you, and that doesn't always have to be by words, or gifts

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      8 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @tvyps: Thank you so much for the blessing and nice comment. My volunteers are wonderful! I just had a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon today for 200 very special community volunteers who assist me with all types of things to keep our activities going and fun!

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 

      8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Cash...oops..then it wouldn't be volunteering. All kidding aside, it is nice to recognize volunteers. Years ago, nobody ever thought of even giving a thank you. Today, we are more conscious of others. That is a good thing. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • youthministry profile image

      Paul Turner 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      If someone just says, "thank you" that is enough for me. Even better, if they ask me volunteer again that lets me know I did a god job.

    • ShariSmith profile image


      9 years ago

      Lending a helping hand will change your life and others as well! Great lens!

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      9 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @Mandy Stradley: I am glad to help. Volunteers are such a blessing in a community such as yours.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      9 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @favored: I like the handwritten notes too, especially in this digital age of emails and texts. They are so personal.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      9 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @EpicFarms: I agree with you 100%. I really appreciate all those who make time to help me with even a few hours a month. Thank you for the compliment.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Just a grateful smile from the people I'm volunteering for is wonderful - of course, if I have to pick something physical, a bit of food isn't too bad, I suppose. ;)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I would love to do that :D

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 

      9 years ago from Riverton, Utah

      Great ideas! I work with a lot of volunteers in an assisted living community. Thanks!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I used to volunteer at a few stables and animal corners. It was enough for me just to know I was needed, and made someone elses life easier.

    • profile image

      MohkaUK LM 

      9 years ago

      Great lens, thanks

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      9 years ago from USA

      Mainly thanks is something that goes a long way, because people often forget to say it. Someone making a meal or bringing flowers is also a really nice way of saying thanks. For me, handwritten notes are very special.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm a supporter of Women Playing For T.I.M.E. on Voucherry. The rules are simple here: for each purchase I'm making my cause receive a donation. And the same amount is returned in my account too. It's nice to see that we, as donors are appreciated too. This makes me come back and keep buying :)

    • EpicFarms profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm good with a simple thanks, but I try very hard to make a bit of a fuss over our volunteers as they are awfully hard to come by these days and I really do appreciate them ;o) I think it is more important than ever to acknowledge what seems to be a rapidly dwindling practice. We have a small non profit, and I can attest that it has become awfully hard to find volunteers with lifestyles having become so fast paced. Nice lens!

    • themeaparty profile image


      9 years ago

      Great reminder to always thank those who help us. Thanks for this lens.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      9 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @SteveKaye: Thank you for your kind words. Non-profit organizations always need wonderful volunteers.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Gratitude is the currency of success. I've been active in non-profit organizations since 1985. I even conducted workshops on volunteer leadership. So, I agree with everything that you wrote here. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image


      9 years ago from McLaughlin

      A smile and a "Thanks for being here" really makes my day.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      9 years ago from Northern California

      Even if it is just a token gift or gift certificate, like for a cup of coffee, volunteers should be acknowledged for a job well done.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      9 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @Onemargaret LM: Grandmothers are the BEST! What a wonderful place to help out!

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      9 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @Close2Art LM: Thank you for the Blessing!

    • profile image

      Onemargaret LM 

      9 years ago

      Used to work at Ronald McDonald House and a lot of our volunteers put their heart and soul into their work. One grandmother and granddaughter volunteered to help her with her school project. And, the grandmother did most of the work. Go figure!

    • profile image

      Close2Art LM 

      9 years ago

      a thank you is just fine, great positive page, angel blessed

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      With money... I'm kidding. To be honest, I just like being acknowledged for it.


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