Inspiring Generosity


4 Ways to Thank Your Volunteers

        Pick me! Pick me to volunteer!      Tumisu@Pixabay

Nearly two weeks ago, I was at a small gathering for dinner with some church friends. Gathering? Dinner? Friends? Vaccinated? Yes, please!
One of those friends made the off-hand comment:
“I just finished my fifth year on the [Fill-in-the-Blank] Committee. I’m done. Five years and no one said a word.”
There was an edge in his voice. Some resignation. And a hint of sadness.
You and I know that in a perfect world, we would all be selfless and tireless "Volunteers for Christ" (hmmm...maybe this should be trademarked). But you and I also know that we are human. We want our work to be acknowledged and appreciated. We don’t want our service to go unrecognized. Especially as volunteers.
Some churches and organizations do a change of volunteer leadership in the summer. Others do it in January. Whenever it happens, here are four ways to thank your volunteers:
1. Recognize them at a meeting. As a leader you’ll want to think not just with your left brain but with your right brain too. In addition to business, how can you make a personal connection? Celebrating service is one way to affirm people as they transition off committees. If you are the pastor or the Chair of the Leadership Council, remind people to take the time during a meeting to say “thank you for your service.”
2. Send a thank you letter. This does not need to be long or complicated. It just needs to be done. Hand write a note saying, “Thank you for your service. You made a difference. What you have done has not gone unnoticed. Enjoy your well-deserved break from committee work. Thank you.”
3. Make a phone call. It can come from the pastor who might say, “I see that you have finished up your service on the X,Y, Z Committee. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work. Thank you.”
4. Host a volunteer appreciation night. Make it a simple outdoor ice cream social. During the festivities (balloons, thank you banners, etc.) take a moment to say “thank you” and recognize people who have given significant amounts of time on particular committees. Even if people don’t come, they will appreciate the invitation and recognition.
Undoubtedly, there are other ways to thank volunteers. And that’s where you come in. Send me an email and let me know how you would like to be thanked or how you have thanked others. I’ll be sure to include these in a future blog.
Celebrating those “Volunteers for Christ”™ (see? It’s catching on!) can make both the thanker and the thankee feel really good. Being grateful is a blessing. How can you thank a volunteer today?

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. For nearly 25 years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Need to “let go” a volunteer? Watch this super-unhelpful (yet funny) video: How to Fire a Volunteer. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.