• Nonprofit Learning Lab

How To: Certificates of Appreciation

Updated: Sep 3


a half drank latte sits on a black thank you note on a brown wooden table

Are you looking to keep your volunteers coming back, staffers engaged, and board members feeling included? A little thanks goes a long way. Certificates of appreciation are easy to create and create meaningful impact, so they might be a great option for you! Follow these simple tips to make sure your community knows how much you care about them.



1. Gather Your Materials

Make sure to ask yourself these questions when preparing to award these certificates: Will you be presenting the certificates in person, or virtually? Is the date of the presentation right? Is everything spelled correctly, with no blurry logos or text? Is the recipient's name spelled correctly?


2. Be Specific

If you are providing an explanation as to why you’re giving this person a certificate of appreciation, be sure to tell them the why, whether in writing or a short speech beforehand. Were they a team player, keeping up morale during a big project? Do they have an attention to detail that makes everyone else’s jobs that much easier? Pointing to a concrete example for your appreciation will make the recipient feel appreciated and valued by your organization.



3. Choose a Design

If you don’t already have a certificate template, simply do a quick internet search to find one. Make sure to follow your organization’s style guidelines for font, formatting, and branding colors - you’ll want to create something that is reminiscent of your organization so it feels more official. Simplicity goes a long way in terms of certificates!


4. Get a Signature or Stamp of Approval

Depending on your position, you may want to reach out to a director or other executive for a signature or stamp representing your organization. This final touch makes the certificate something to be proud of.



5. Present!

Whether it be in person or virtually, you’ll have to present this certificate in some formal or informal way. Think about what would make the person feel most special. Does the certificate come with flowers, or in an email with a letter attached on your organization’s letterhead expressing how grateful you are?



Follow these 5 tips and you should be able to create the perfect Certificate of Appreciation in no time. Once you have a template you are happy with, you’ll be able to save it and reuse it as needed for thank you’s and other ceremonies in the future. We hope you’ve found this posting helpful, and encourage you to check out our other free resources here. From guidebooks and tip sheets, to free webinars and job boards, you’re sure to find everything you need.