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International Thank You Day is all about taking a moment to express gratitude to those making a positive impact in the lives of others. With the goal of school fundraising being to raise funds to improve schools and the lives of students—your volunteers are doing just that! Not only do they donate their time, but they also bring positive energy and a drive to succeed that is invaluable. While gifts are always a thoughtful option to show appreciation, saying “thank you” doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. In fact, many times, a more personal gesture can be even more effective. Read on to learn more about the benefits of showing your gratitude and ten creative—and free!—ideas on how to thank volunteers.

In this blog you will learn:

Benefits to Thanking Your Volunteers

From start to finish, volunteers are crucial to the success of a school fundraiser. They selflessly devote their time and energy to raising funds to improve the lives of students, teachers and staff. So thank your volunteers—and thank them often! Plus, showing your appreciation has so many additional benefits that will continue to make your fundraising efforts successful in the future.

Build a sense of community.

Many times, parents begin volunteering as a way to meet other families and be a part of something. Recognizing your volunteers’ contributions and encouraging everyone to show their appreciation for one another will build a bond and strong community.

Boost morale.

Volunteering can require long hours and hard work! Showing your gratitude lets your volunteers know that you truly see everything they are doing to make each fundraiser successful. This keeps morale up and your volunteers motivated to give each task their all.

Create a connection to your cause.

When considering how to thank volunteers, remember the common goal you are all working towards—bringing positive change to your school! Reminding your volunteers of exactly what their hard work has achieved will make them feel like they are truly a part of reaching this goal.

Encourage future participation.

Showing your gratitude can actually save you valuable time. Volunteers that feel appreciated are more likely to volunteer again! This means less recruiting and training for future fundraisers.

Attract new volunteers!

While you are encouraging future participation from your current volunteers, those happy volunteers are also spreading the word about the great community you have built. This will attract new volunteers too!

How to Thank Volunteers

Here are 10 free ways to show your appreciation to volunteers on International Volunteer Day and all year!

Social media shoutout.

Use your social pages to share all the wonderful things your volunteers are up to with your followers. You can even make this a part of your social media strategy and plan to do a weekly or monthly shoutout for a volunteer that goes the extra mile.

Volunteer spotlight.

Select a volunteer on a regular basis to spotlight and share more about who they are and fun facts about them and their lives. Include information such as the expertise and skills they bring to your fundraisers, big accomplishments and family details. You can share these in a monthly newsletter, email blast or social media.

Hand written card.

Take the time to personally write out a card for a volunteer and show them  how much you appreciate them.

Cookie swap.

Ask families to donate a batch of cookies to thank volunteers for all the work they do to improve your school. Use a signup sheet to ensure a good variety. Then invite your volunteers to fill up a box of different treats to take home and enjoy.

Thank you box.

Set up a box in a high traffic area that other volunteers, school staff and families walk by. Encourage your community to drop a note when they are appreciative of something a volunteer has done.

Potluck meal.

Ask families and school staff to sign up to bring in different dishes to make a whole meal to serve your volunteers. This is a great idea to use when your volunteers need to gather and work on a fundraiser or to use as a celebration when you have just completed one.

Personalized video.

Get creative and make a fun video to show your gratitude! You can highlight one volunteer or your whole crew that helped make a fundraiser happen. This is also a great way to show your community how hard your volunteers work and all of the ways the donations you collect are improving your school.

Peer-to-peer recognition.

Encourage your volunteers to also thank one another! This can be done in a number ways such as setting up a regular time for your volunteers to share or creating a bulletin board where they can post quick thank you notes to other volunteers.

Milestone celebrations.

When thinking of how to thank volunteers, make a list of special milestones that they have reached while working on school fundraisers. This could be how many years a parent has been volunteering or the amount of fundraisers they have worked on. Identify what milestones work best for your school. Then keep track of your volunteers and give them a shoutout when they reach one!

VIP parking spot access.

Ask your school to designate one parking spot for volunteers. Use this spot as a treat to say thank you to volunteers that go above and beyond.

Volunteers play a pivotal role in school fundraising, dedicating their time, energy, and positive spirit to enhance the lives of students and the entire school community. Brainstorming how to thank volunteers will not only fosters a sense of community but also boosts morale, creates a deeper connection to the cause, and encourages future participation. Use these free and personal ways to show your gratitude, and you can afford to say “thank you” all year round! 

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