We all know it’s important to formally recognize volunteers for the time and effort they give. A perfect opportunity to do just that is during National Volunteer Week.

Looking for ways to spice up your recognition event? Peruse these suggestions for ways to make your next one special and memorable for your volunteers, while still managing to do it on a shoestring budget. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make it a movie day. Rent out a local movie theater for awards and then spring for popcorn, soda, and a movie. Check to see if the theater will give you a discounted rate. It’s fun, easy, and in many cases, less expensive than a banquet.
  • Give volunteers a dose of TLC. Pamper your volunteers with a massage and facial. Find ways to network, and this can be a very inexpensive way to thank your volunteers. Contact local massage schools and/or massage therapists. They may give chair massages in return for the chance to pass out business cards and/or flyers. Likewise, an Avon or Mary Kay representative would most likely jump at the chance to give complimentary facials in return for some free publicity. Talk with a local coffee house to see if they would donate free coffee and/or herbal teas, too.
  • Try an outing. Check with local museums, zoos, etc. that may give your organization a discounted rate for a day of fun and camaraderie.
  • Have fun with an old-fashioned ice cream social. A local ice cream parlor or grocery store may even donate everything needed for this sweet treat!
  • Invite your volunteers to sample the city. Recruit local restaurants to donate samples of their best dishes. It provides something interesting for your volunteers and free publicity for the restaurants.
  • Shake up your usual volunteer banquet by using a theme. Let your imagination go! Disco, mardi gras, magic whatever sounds like fun!

If you want to include a special gift or favor along with your event, you might consider one of these options:

  • Present a discount card. Work with local vendors to offer special, one-time bargains. This could be a percentage off a product or service, buy one, get one free deal, etc. Create your own discount card that can be punched or stamped when each offer is redeemed.
  • Give a personalized letter. Ask some of your clients to write a letter to a volunteer. Type the letter on stationery and frame it, if you prefer. (Dollar stores have a great variety of picture frames.) This may be an especially effective and touching gift for volunteers that do not have direct contact with your client base.

Feel free to take one or more of these ideas and put your own spin on it, or , of course, develop something totally different. You know your volunteers best. Whatever you decide upon, your volunteers will feel appreciated and re-energized by your special way of saying thank you.

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