Indicators of Happy Volunteers

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You recognize the value that volunteers bring to your organization. Some of you would literally be unable to fulfil your mission without them.

They fill crucial positions including, but not limited to: sitting on your board, fundraising, working with/mentoring clients, events, photography, committees and so much more.

They are important. Their contributions are important. And you need to find ways to let them know you are grateful for the value they bring to your organization.

There are many ways that organizations show appreciation to their volunteers. These include appreciation events, awards ceremonies and prizes.

But what if you don’t have the kind of budget it takes to host such an event? All is not hopeless. Think about the types of things that make you feel appreciated and valued. Can they be recreated in your volunteer program?

Here are some indicators of happy volunteers. They:

  • have a sense that their work is valuable and they are appreciated
  • feel included and can see how they fit into the bigger picture
  • feel appreciated when you recognize the work they are specifically doing well
  • know you trust them and that there are opportunities for growth in their roles
  • get calls at home and visits from Leadership staff when they’re on site for their volunteer shift
  • are honoured when you tell their story in your newsletter or submit their profile to the local paper
  • feel appreciated when you nominate them for an award
  • feel heard when you solicit their opinions or invite them to participate in focus groups
  • feel respected when you share your organization’s future plans with them
  • excel when you invite them to your in-house training workshops
  • know that you care about them; you remember their birthday and anniversaries, etc.

Volunteers are important to your organization. They bring a wealth of skills and enthusiasm when you provide opportunities for involvement that are meaningful to them.

How have you been appreciated in the past? What are some other ways your organization can appreciate volunteers? What can you start doing today to show your gratitude for your volunteers?

The purpose of The Other Bottom Line is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.



  1. Louise Gallagher

    Great post Diana — one of the things we did was to pay for the event, we did continuous bottle drives — invented corporate Calgary to contribute their bottles towards it. It took a lot of organization — volunteers helped — but we raised the funds for the event and it was always worthwhile.

    Right now, we’re doing mini-video thank-yous where we staff give thanks to a specific person or group. They’re fun — everyone enjoys the process and people get to see them on YouTube.

  2. Jean

    For the organizations that I’ve volunteered in the past, sometimes all it takes is for a staff member or 2, to organize a simple potluck, provide some drinks and simple snack as the host somewhere. Volunteers like to meet one another and chat up: that is one of the reasons why they also volunteer in addition to belief in the organization’s mandate: they like meeting other like-minded people.

    I am certain even 1 volunteer might even like uploading volunteer appreciation event photos onto the org.’s facebook, media provides way more opportunities for volunteer contributions and appreciation.

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