How do you thank your volunteers?
We all know that it can be hard to recruit volunteers,
which is why it pays to show them you appreciate their input.
Ensuring volunteers have an enjoyable experience makes it more
likely that they'll volunteer again, and should lead to a permanent
boost in your manpower.
Say it with words
The easiest way to thank volunteers is to do a generic 'thank
you' through your usual advertising channels. In many ways, this is
the safest option as no one will be left out. Use emails,
newsletters, social media, and even posters around school.
But personal thanks do have a lot more impact, and come across
as more thoughtful, if you have the time to do them. Have the Chair
write cards, or ask pupils to make thank you cards. They are, after
all, the ones who will benefit from the volunteers' effort, and
having a personal thank you from them goes a long way in retaining
You don't want any thank yous to be costly and cut into profits,
but there are many ways you can show you appreciate volunteers, and
encourage people to sign up, with little bonuses and
- Show that you value everyone's efforts by offering some
'perks', i.e. could their children have exclusive access to the
bouncy castle before or after the fair? It won't impact on your
profits but is a thoughtful way to reward volunteers.
- If you're holding an event like a disco, keep the music going
for a bit longer at the end of the event and let the volunteers and
their kids have an exclusive boogie.
- How about running a volunteer raffle as an incentive, where all
volunteers names are entered into a prize draw? Use a donated prize
to avoid cutting into profits.
- See if local restaurants or attractions are willing to offer
discount vouchers or codes which you can hand out to all
volunteers. In return, you could offer the company a discounted, or
free, advert in your programme or on a stall.
- If you have a school production, nativity or pantomime, offer
volunteers first dibs on the seating - a front-row seat is a great
way to say thanks.
- Offer volunteers their first drink for free, or a free burger
if they're volunteering at a long event to keep up morale.
- Consider offering discounted tickets for helpers at events.
Many commercial events do this to get volunteers. It's a system
that works and can apply to your PTA. If someone volunteers at the
summer fair for an hour their ticket is half price; if they help
for two hours, admission is free. They then have the remaining time
to enjoy the fair.
Look after volunteers at events
- Make sure volunteers have time to go around the event with
their kids by making sure people are relieved and helpers are
switched when they should be, and according to the rota. To aid
this, have a committee member floating around the fair who can be
alerted in the case of any problems.
- Ensure people can have comfort breaks by providing volunteers
to cover stalls if necessary. Sitting in the hot or cold, thirsty
and bursting for a wee, won't encourage people to volunteer
- If people are volunteering for a long time, take round drinks.
A warm cup of tea at a Christmas fair, or a cool glass of water at
a summer fair, will be more than welcome and is not costly. Little
touches like this show you care about your volunteers.
When thanking volunteers, try to provide details of how much
profit the event made and how you intend to spend it - it makes a
huge difference for them to know how their contribution will be of
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