This post originally appeared on the HandsOn Blog; we liked it so much, they were kind enough to let us re-run it. Please visit the HandsOn Network which inspires, equips and mobilizes people to change lives through service.
8 Tips for Writing the Perfect Volunteer Thank You Note
You’ve thanked the volunteers that serve with your organization, right? Thanking them when they’re serving is important, but it’s also important to show them that their service is important even when they’re not serving. A thank you note sent to a volunteer at their home is a great reminder that they’re an important part of the organization. Here are eight tips for writing personal thank you notes to your volunteers:
1) Focus on the volunteer.
Before you write the thank you note, try writing the volunteer’s address on the envelope and write it out by hand. As you’re writing their address, think about your relationship to the volunteer; think about where they’re living and how they’re serving. It will help you to write an individual message for that volunteer
2) Write the note by hand.
Unless the number of volunteers your organization has makes writing a thank you note by hand unfeasible, take the extra time to write the note out by hand. A hand written note will mean more to your volunteers and shows that you’ve taken the time to focus on each volunteer specifically. (If you must send an email thank you note, consider these lovely, free electronic Thank You Cards from Baudv!lle.)
3) Talk about the volunteer’s service directly.
When you’re thanking your volunteer for their service, include a note about something that the volunteer has done. Whether it’s figuring out a new way to do something, making sure that the people they work with are always smiling, or being the only one that can figure out how to make the copier stop squeaking, be sure to draw attention to it.
4) Talk about how the volunteer’s service is changing or improving the organization
If the new way of doing something improves the office work flow, tell the volunteer how many hours the improvement saves over the course of a year. If the volunteer helps to buoy everyone’s spirits, tell the volunteer how their presence makes everyone’s day a little easier to get through.
5) Try writing a draft before writing out a thank you card.
Your writing will get a little bit better with each draft. You can keep an early version of the thank you note in the volunteer’s file where it can serve as a reminder of the great work they’ve done for your organization.
6) Keep it simple.
Your thank you note doesn’t have to be a complicated and involved. It doesn’t have to be a Presidential address. It can be two or three lines, simply written that come from the heart. Pretty words are great when you’re trying to charm someone, but meaningful words are more important when you’re trying to thank them.
7) Think of how your organization can serve the volunteer better.
If there is something that your organization can do to make the volunteer’s work easier to do, mention that you’re trying to make those things happen. Whether it’s a brighter desk lamp, more thorough trainings, or simply involving the volunteers more in the day-to-day operation of your organization, let the volunteers know that you’re willing to support them and the work that they do as much as they support you and your organization.
8) Write a lot of thank you notes.
If you’re not used to writing thank you notes to your volunteers, write a lot of them. It will get easier, and you’ll get better at it. Remember, you can never say thank you too many times.
What are some of the ways that you’ve said thank you to the volunteers you work with? Let us know about the awesome ways of showing your volunteers that you appreciate them – whether it’s high fives in the hallways or winter wellness kits full of tissues and vitamin c.