10 Free (or nearly free) Ways to Appreciate Volunteers

A strong, committed volunteer team is vital to any church. They arrive early and stay late. They’re the smiling faces on a rainy morning in the parking lot. They make coffee, check-in children, lead small groups, welcome guests, and much more.

Here are 10 ideas for communicating how much you appreciate them and that their efforts are making a difference:

  1. Send a quick text or email to a volunteer you saw doing a great job on Sunday morning.
  2. Call your volunteer leaders. Ask how they’re doing, if there’s anything you can do for them, and if they have any suggestions for improving the area they serve in.
  3. Walk around as volunteers are serving and thank them for their work. Take a few minutes to lend a hand or ask if there’s anything they need.
  4. Send 2-3 handwritten thank you notes to volunteers each Monday. Look around on Sunday to see who’s going the extra mile to welcome guests and take care of people. Type a few quick notes in your phone if needed, then write your thank you notes the next day.
  5. Bring light snacks to your pre-service volunteer meeting or the next volunteer training session.
  6. Go to lunch or coffee with a couple that volunteers together. Let them know how much you appreciate them, ask about their story (how they came to the church, their family, careers, spiritual growth, etc.), and let them know you’re always open to hearing their ideas.
  7. Have all volunteers stand up in Sunday morning service and thank them from the pulpit.
  8. Share testimonies of people who’ve surrendered their lives to Christ after feeling welcomed and loved by volunteers.
  9. If a volunteer is in the hospital or has a family emergency, visit them and/or provide meals and other assistance as needed.
  10. Pray for and with your volunteer teams each week.

Above all, invest in your volunteers and in how you lead them.  This requires being intentional and carving out time to create a healthy volunteer culture.  For practical tips on how to make that happen, check out The Volunteer Management Toolkit (Church Edition).

How do you appreciate your volunteers?