Your church volunteers work hard, so it’s important to acknowledge their selfless efforts. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money on over-the-top gifts. In fact, small yet meaningful actions can help you express your sincere gratitude and keep volunteers engaged with your program. As you’ll see below, volunteer communication is key. Keep reading for creative, actionable church volunteer appreciation ideas to thank your volunteers. You can also learn more about how Galaxy Digital’s church volunteer management software can help you organize your efforts.
1. Offer Words of Gratitude
Don’t overestimate the power of words. Start by simply saying “thank you.” It’s important to verbalize volunteer value regularly, and there are many creative ideas to do so. Gather the volunteers from your church and read a poem of gratitude. Or you can create cards with inspirational bible verses about service or quotes about volunteering to uplift and celebrate your church volunteers.
Volunteer Appreciation Poem Example
These Hands, These Hands
By Susan Jeavons
I have seen hands like this before
In every size and color
Hands that are parched and withered
Strong hands, tired hands
Hands that can bear any load
Hurting hands that are calloused
And bent, yet these hands can be
Gentle as a kitten’s paw
Ready and able to hold and heal.
I have seen hands like this before
Caring hands that teach and guide
Encourage and praise,
Motherly hands nurturing, holding
Rocking, gently disciplining
without ever harming,
Hands always willing to reach out
And help their fellow man
Always ready to volunteer.
View the entire poem, and other poems about volunteering here!
If you want to make your church volunteers feel even more special, try inviting your youth group to write poems of appreciation for your volunteers. It’s a sweet gesture and a great way for your future volunteers to practice gratitude.
Sharing your favorite bible verses with your volunteers is another thoughtful way to communicate your appreciation. There are many verses about volunteering throughout the bible. If you need some inspiration, check out the ones we found below:
Bible Verses about Volunteering and Service
- “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:35
- “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
- “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
- “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
Explore additional bible verses about volunteering here.
2. Send a Handwritten Volunteer Appreciation Letter
Taking the time to compose a handwritten letter for each of your volunteers demonstrates that you acknowledge their selfless efforts. Need a little inspiration?
Sample Thank You Letter for Church Volunteers:
Dear [Volunteer’s Name],
Thank you for your dedication to [Name of Volunteer Program or Church]. Your compassion and kindness toward others is an inspiration to all members of our congregation. [Acknowledge the specific role your volunteer played or a particular strength of the volunteer]. Your words and actions help make our community a happier, safer place. We are incredibly grateful for and humbled by your efforts, and we want you to know that your work has not gone unnoticed.
3. Give a Meaningful Volunteer Appreciation Gift
Express your sincere gratitude with an appreciation gift that is both affordable and significant to your volunteers. Remember, gifts don’t have to be lavish to be meaningful. Here are a few church volunteer appreciation gift ideas:
- A book that inspires you, with a personal message
- Flowers from your church garden, presented during your next service
- Cards made by your church’s youth group
- Handmade items created by congregation members (think jams, knitted items, a book of collected recipes)
4. Throw a Celebration Dinner
Hold a special evening just for your church’s volunteers that serves as a culmination of their accomplishments throughout the year. Make the celebration feel special by mailing a formal invitation to each of your volunteers; they’ll look forward to an evening dedicated just to them. Following the reception, present awards in recognition of your most devoted volunteers, or invite church organizers and community leaders to deliver words of gratitude. Think about other church volunteer appreciation dinner ideas that you can use, like playing a game, picking a theme for your gathering, or reserving a special location for the event.
Tip: Don’t forget to include a babysitting service during the night of your volunteer appreciation dinner–it will be one less thing your volunteers have to worry about!
Volunteer Appreciation Speech Outline:
- Opening remarks and welcome
- Reasons your volunteers are vital to the health of your church
- Mention any successes or accomplishments of your program this year, giving credit to your volunteers
- Tell a story about how volunteer efforts are impacting the community or cause
- Recognize an outstanding volunteer
- Express sincere gratitude to all your volunteers who dedicate their time to helping others
- Closing remarks
5. Hold a Volunteer Appreciation Day
Want to celebrate your church volunteers and include their families? Plan a day of games, food, and fun for your congregation. Invite representatives from local organizations that have benefited from your church volunteer program, and welcome church members to learn more about your volunteers, partner organizations, and the work they do. You may even encourage new volunteers to join your program!
6. Feature Regular Volunteer Spotlights
A great way to thank your church volunteers is to acknowledge them publicly. Feature a superstar volunteer each month; take the time to interview them, take photos, reflect on their volunteer experiences, and share their story with your community.
Where to Feature Your Volunteer Spotlights:
- Your website blog
Your community will learn more about the people who make your community a better place, and your volunteers will feel uplifted by the positive attention.
7. Invite Volunteers to Participate in Service
Ask a volunteer to read a passage, share their story, or offer reflections on their service experience during your next service. You’ll show your church volunteers that you value their voices while inspiring others in your congregation to participate in your church’s outreach efforts.
8. Provide Leadership Opportunities
It’s likely that your most dedicated volunteers care about the direction of your church volunteer program and the health of your community. Show volunteers you value their input; provide opportunities to share their ideas about growing your church volunteer program. Invite them to lead a service event or identify needs in your community and develop new volunteer opportunities. Your volunteers are more likely to remain engaged when they feel passionate about the work they do.
9. Communicate Regularly
Showing that you appreciate your volunteers is about more than just saying “thank you.” You should also demonstrate your dedication to your church volunteer program. Keep volunteers in the loop with important news, upcoming opportunities, and reflections on recent volunteerism experiences. Why not create an e-Newsletter just for your volunteers?
Tip: Don’t forget to communicate your appreciation within a week of the volunteer opportunity.
10. Compile a Volunteer Scholarship Fund
Make education a pillar of your church’s service program. Ask for your congregation and community members to make a manageable donation to a preschool or college scholarship fund to be awarded to a volunteer’s child or family member. Note that volunteers should be given clear guidelines about how to qualify and apply for the scholarship, and the scholarship should be awarded by an unbiased board. An education fund, especially for your volunteers, is a special way to empower volunteers through the gift of education.
Do you have church appreciation ideas to share that haven’t made the list? Let us know! We’re always looking for new ideas to share.