Five ideas to recognise volunteers during the festive season

The turning of the year is an important time for volunteering.  December is an ideal time to appreciate the efforts of your volunteers.  January offers a perfect opportunity to recruit new people to support your organisation.
In the first of two blogs we share five ideas to recognise volunteers during the festive season.

1. Festive Food
Offering your volunteers yummy food in good company is a great way to show they are appreciated.  If your budget permits you might lay on nice nosh.  Tasty options include: mince pies and mulled wine, a ‘Christmas Curry’, turkey with all the trimmings.  You may already have a social event planned and can offer volunteersfree or discounted places.  A local restaurant might sponsor your event or give discount.  An extra special option (where possible) is for the people the volunteers support to prepare the food and serve the meal. 

 2.  Celebrate success
At this time of year people and organisations take stock of their achievements.  Why not tell the story of your success during the year?  By highlighting the role played by volunteers you will emphasise their importance and let them know their efforts have been valued.  You could put up a festive themed display, create a calendar, post a video on your website, or give a speech to your community.

3.  Gift of belonging
No doubt your organisation will have a brand identity.  Giving volunteers an item linking them to the cause they support will reinforce their sense of belonging.  Options include volunteer ‘business’ cards, a car sticker, a key ring, a diary, an item of branded clothing, or just about anything you can put your logo on.
4.  Goal getting
Helping volunteers achieve their personal goals in relation to their service benefits both the volunteer and your organisation.  To help them improve their knowledge and skills you might buy them a useful reference book, subsidise a place on a training course, pay their expenses to attend aconference, offer them a session with an expert, or find them a great mentor.

5.  Personal ‘Thank You’
Nothing beats a sincere and specific ‘Thank You’ to show your volunteers that they are esteemed.  The possibilities to convey a message of thanks are endless!  A card highlighting the volunteer’s achievements; a photograph of the volunteer in action; words of praise from your President or Chair; a round of applause from others in your organisation; three cheers from the people the volunteer serves; a hug or handshake and a face-to-face ‘Thanks’.

Photos by nipitphand and Stuart Miles from