Taking the time to thank volunteers is a must. Here are 25 easy to implement ways to show volunteers gratitude for their time in 2021.

Taking the time to thank volunteers is one of the easiest strategies a nonprofit can use to convert more people into long-term supporters. Thanking volunteers has also been shown to improve retention rates through the process of engagement. According to several independent studies, one of the top reasons that volunteers discontinue their commitment to an organization via volunteerism is the lack of feedback and inadequate recognition.

What steps is your nonprofit taking to thank volunteers and show recognition for their commitment? If your organization is not actively thanking volunteers in a variety of ways consider deploying a few of the following.

Here are 25 ways to thank volunteers in 2021:

  1. Feature volunteer stories on your organization’s blog and website.
  2. Verbally thank volunteers and communicate with them regularly.
  3. Send out handwritten thank you notes to all volunteers fulfilling an opportunity.
  4. Work with local shops and businesses to provide volunteers with discounts.
  5. Demonstrate flexibility to volunteers by making scheduling a streamlined process.
  6. Invite volunteers and their families to networking events and parties.
  7. Provide volunteers with career development and training opportunities.
  8. Offer volunteers free food during the fulfillment of their opportunity.
  9. Ask volunteers for program feedback and demonstrate a desire to satisfy their needs.
  10. Highlight and communicate the impact that each individual volunteer contribution is having on the organization.
  11. Make your volunteers time commitment meaningful (do not waste time).
  12. Promote volunteers to new roles that leverage their skills and abilities.
  13. Create a volunteer recognition board to highlight those going above and beyond.
  14. Provide volunteers with letters of reference to assist in their career goals.
  15. Offer volunteers the opportunity to fill leadership roles.
  16. Deploy gamification to make the process of volunteerism more fun for volunteers.
  17. Interact with and thank volunteers for their commitment via social media.
  18. Send volunteers personalized notes on birthdays / other special dates.
  19. Provide volunteers free shirts (other clothing) in exchange for service.
  20. Use exit interviews to understand why volunteers are leaving (show them you care).
  21. Create a book for volunteers that tells your organization’s story.
  22. Get the community involved in an “adopt-a-volunteer” program.
  23. Be accommodating to volunteers and their personal needs.
  24. Provide volunteers with on-the-job praise.
  25. Make an effort to introduce volunteers to other volunteers to build friendships.


Thanking volunteers is oftentimes just a matter of simply recognizing their contributions to your organization’s mission. The little things you can do to show them you care mean the most.

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