Words to Thank Volunteers

Expressing thanks

Volunteers are worth their weight in gold. They share their time and talents without any compensation, so it's crucial to acknowledge their contributions and let them know they are valued. Thanking them can go a long way toward accomplishing this goal, so it's worth taking the time to find just the right words to show your appreciation.

Examples of Written Thank You Notes

Sending volunteers written thank you notes gives them something they can hang on to and read again, especially during times when they begin feeling a bit drained. Your notes can become a constant source of encouragement that gives them the lift they need to continue donating their time and efforts. The following examples will give you an idea of how to word your own notes.

To a Volunteer That Works Directly With the Less Fortunate

Dear Marc,

The compassion you show to the people we serve is an inspiration for us all. I've noticed how you treat everyone with respect and kindness, no matter what the situation is. We both know how stressful it can be for the people who find themselves in need of the services we provide, and your words and actions go a long way toward helping them keep their dignity. I just want you to know that your work hasn't gone unnoticed.

Thank you for all that you do.

To a Literacy Volunteer

Volunteer teaching child to read

Dear Sherry,

I wanted to let you know what an outstanding job I think you're doing with the children you work with. They really respond to you, and that's probably due to how patient you are with them. I can hear their reading skills improving and their confidence growing with each session, even with the ones that struggle the most. You have such a wonderful ability to meet each child at her ability level and work up from there. The children are so lucky to have you as a tutor, and so are we.

Thank you so much!

To a Volunteer That Sorts and Organizes Donations

Dear Reilly,

Thank you for helping sort and organize all the donations we have received these past few weeks. I know it has been a lot of work, but you've done a wonderful job keeping the inflow and outflow running smoothly. You're such an important part of our organization, and I hope you know that.

Thank you!

Examples of Saying Thank You Directly

Whether you're talking to a volunteer one-on-one or holding an appreciation event, speaking from your heart is the best way to let your volunteers know that you recognize what they do for you and your cause. It's important to include details so your thank you sounds as sincere as you mean it to be. Tailor what you say to an individual volunteer's role so it's more personal.

Volunteer answering the phones

To a Volunteer That Works the Phones

Sheila, thank you so much for the wonderful job you do handling calls. I've heard from contributors and other volunteers how friendly, helpful, and professional you are, and that really inspires confidence in our organization. We're so lucky to have you.

To a School Volunteer

Mrs. Draper, thank you so much for volunteering to direct the school Christmas play. The show was wonderful, and the children really loved working with you. I know it was a lot of work, but I don't think anyone could have done a better job. We're so happy you shared your talents with us.

To a Volunteer Meal Provider

Carter, I really need to thank you for your meal donations to the families in our program. You're doing more than just filling their bellies. You're showing them that people do care, and that gives them hope. Sometimes hope is just what people need to try to change their lives.

Composing Your Thank You

You can reword one of the examples above if it seems like a good fit for one of your volunteers, but it's really not difficult to find the right words to thank a volunteer. All you really need to do is clear your mind for a moment and give yourself a few minutes to think.

  1. Think about what your volunteer does for you or your organization.
  2. Focus on the areas where he or she really shines.
  3. Jot down some notes so you don't forget anything.
  4. Write out a rough draft, and make changes until it reads just the way you want it to.
  5. When the note is perfect, transfer it into a thank you card.
  6. If you prefer to talk with the volunteer and say thanks, you can use the note as practice for what you want to say.

When to Express Your Gratitude

It's always a good time to thank a volunteer, but there are times when it's especially appropriate.

  • For a one-time volunteer event, thank the volunteers in person near the close of the event.
  • Send a thank you card within one week of the event so your gratitude doesn't seem "stale."
  • For volunteers that work with you on an ongoing basis, thank them whenever it seems appropriate, like when they come up with great ideas, complete a project, or go above and beyond your expectations.
  • It's especially appropriate to have some words prepared for a volunteer appreciation event, like a luncheon or dinner, as well as any time you present a volunteer with gift to show your appreciation.

Let Volunteers Know You Care

Always keep in mind that volunteers are not the same as employees. They can choose to stay or walk away at any time without any real loss to themselves, and that's one reason why it's so important to show your appreciation. They are critical to the success of any organization, so make sure you take time out of your day to thank them, and remind them of how special they really are!

Words to Thank Volunteers