Scott Hodge


Volunteer Appreciation

May 10, 2006

We have a HUGE core of volunteers at The Orchard that we rely HEAVILY on to help create irresistible environments in our church community week after week.  And one of the things that we believe is that the only way we will be effective at fulfilling our mission is by building and equipping one huge team of people who believe in and are willing to jump head first into helping make it happen. 

We also believe that we have to take good care of those people.

So, at our staff meetings these past couple of weeks, we have been talking about how to best show appreciation to those who serve in our church.  We realize that the first and foremost way is by making "appreciation" and recognition something that is just a natural part of our culture. 

But, we would also like to allocate a part of our resources and time in doing something special on an annual basis. 

This is where YOU come in. 

I’m interested in hearing from those of you who are a part of organizations that rely heavily on the support and service of volunteers on these two questions:

  1. What types of things do you do to intentionally build a culture of volunteer appreciation into your organization?
  2. What types of "annual" events do you (or have you done) do to show appreciation to your volunteer teams?

I would love to hear your creative and innovative ideas on this!  And I’m sure there are others who would love to soak in some ideas too…  So go ahead, comment on!  Thanks!

5 Responses to “Volunteer Appreciation”

  1. sarge says:

    We have an annual event. Last year we called tons of area restaurants and asked for FREE $20 gift certificates for our workers. We averaged getting one from every restaurant we contacted. Most were very excited to help. Just a thought.

  2. Scott Harris says:

    Here’s just a sampling:
    We pull out all the stops at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. It’s an off-site, catered dinner, door prizes, entertainment, etc. We tell real life change stories and make sure that those volunteers understand that because they gave their time people’s lives are changed. Our budget for this event is $3000.
    Our team also competes to send out the most thank you cards weekly.
    We carry $3 Starbucks gift cards and we randomly hand them to people that we see going the extra mile.
    We work really hard to flatten the leadership. Hopefully our people know that ministry happens through the volunteers.

  3. Rob says:

    Two primary things:
    First we have a gift pantry that is stocked with goodies like books, CD’s and gift certificates. The items in the pantry are available to our staff for their volunteers. This may be a bit much, but we track what is given and lean on staff members who are not using the pantry enough. (usually not a problem) The gifts are accompanied by a card or letter.
    Second, we throw an annual bash each year and invite everyone who has volunteered. We bring in a special musical guest or comedian, etc… One year the staff did a comedy. The staff serve the meal and greet the honored guest and take care of the set up and clean up. Also, we create a video that demonstrates their impact on individual lives. A priority is placed on serving, honoring, and interacting with each volunteer.

  4. Ben Arment says:

    Superbowl Sunday… we always give out signed footballs (by our leadership team) to our VIP volunteers. Put their images on the big screen like NFL player stats. Rockin music in the background. Works like a champ…

  5. Jim says:

    My church just likes to give speaches about how we need to work harder.
    Hopefully they will get the message that volunteers are a blessing not free slave labor.

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