Guest post by Christine Kirwan, GSWNY Director of Volunteer Experience
April was Volunteer Appreciation Month, but don’t let that stop you from celebrating it all year-round! April can serve as a great reminder, but many of our amazing volunteers go above and beyond on a regular basis.
At the start of the month, we helped you generate new ideas to get creative for April. After that, GSWNY Volunteer Experience Manager Lena Budd explained some of the more nuanced ways people like to be thanked. Now we want to help you keep those thankful thoughts flowing through the other 11 months.
Normally this concept is for your personal self-reflection on the ways your own life has been good, but it’s actually a fun concept to remember how someone has repeatedly done wonderful things for you. Keep small notes on who has done something nice for you. Look back on these when writing a thank you note and pull a few choice examples that made you particularly grateful.
If the volunteer you want to thank is comfortable with public displays of gratitude, consider setting aside time in troop or service unit meetings to allow people to share a brief message to highlight that volunteer. Worried about time? You can also collect those messages through email or social media ahead of time and then have one person read them aloud at the meeting.
At GSWNY, we have a lot of ways to officially recognize volunteers, but sometimes you want to give smaller thanks on a service unit or troop level. You can always create your own awards ceremonies or handmade trophies and certificates to give thanks.
Can we all appreciate the joy of a paper plate award ceremony? They don’t all have to be inside jokes or funny. Sincere ones are an excellent way to go, too! This can be a really fun idea for when you’re able to meet in person once again!
We live in a world of smartphones where photos are a frequent part of our lives. If you have some sweet photos of events or instances where the volunteer or their hard work was in front of the camera, consider turning those memories into a physical gift.
Scrapbooks, photo albums, framed photos, or picture collages are all touching gifts that they can incorporate into their lives. The photo will remind them of your gratitude and keep the good vibes flowing.
Have another idea? How do you show thanks outside of April? Leave a comment below!