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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

10 Ways to Retain and Recognize Your Volunteers

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Recognizing the work of your volunteers is an integral part of retaining nonprofit volunteers. We know that volunteers contribute a significant amount of work, hours and dedication to the organizations they serve. The current estimate of a volunteer hour is $28.54 according to the most recent study released in April 2021. Retaining volunteers is important for continuation of programs and services and onboarding new volunteers.

Below are some of our favorite ways to thank and recognize long time volunteers.

A Birthday Card: Track your volunteer birthdates and send a birthday card in the mail

Social Media Shout Out: Profile a long-time volunteer on social media and recognize your volunteers when they do something great or hit a volunteer milestone!

A Thank You Text Message: Once a week send a thank you text message to a volunteer to recognize their efforts. A thank you goes a long way!

A Virtual Dance Party: Hire a fun local DJ and organize a virtual dance party. This is great for volunteers that know each other and maybe can't quite get together yet due to travel or schedules.

Survey Your Volunteers: Survey, ask and listen to your listen to your Volunteers to find out what they love about your organization and what you could do better.

A $5 Coffee or Ice CreamCard: Mail a coffee card or ice cream certificate to volunteers when they reach a certain number of volunteers hours or just to say thank you to your long time volunteers

Inspire your volunteers: Bring in speakers, VIPs and content experts from outside of your organization to energize and inspire your volunteers

Volunteer Awards: Give meaningful recognition and awards to volunteers that have put in significant effort to honor them and inspire others

An e-card: Don't have a mailing address for your volunteer? Send a fun e-card to say thanks!

Recognize retiring volunteers: Always recognize volunteers that are "retiring" or who have completed their positions. This creates a culture of volunteer recognition.

Volunteer recognition connects to your nonprofit's ability to retain volunteers. Recognizing our volunteers' efforts is more than a once a year pizza party. It is a daily, weekly and monthly task that should be ingrained into the volunteer management systems and procedures that you do on a regular basis.

Looking for more resources on volunteer management and volunteer retention or additional support for your volunteer management program? Check out our upcoming volunteer management workshops at



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