Direct Mail

Volunteer Appreciation Ideas

By 13 July 2023May 21st, 2024No Comments
fundraising letter

17 Volunteer Appreciation Ideas for Your Nonprofit’s Community Growth

According to Volunteer Canada, 65% of nonprofit organizations need more volunteers to help them with daily functions!

It is appalling and worrisome that many people are withdrawing from volunteering for many reasons, like health concerns after Covid-19, improper management, and a lack of appreciation from the nonprofit. 

Hence, volunteer appreciation and management changes are essential for a nonprofit’s existence and growth! Organizations must plan strategies to make volunteers feel like a part of their communities.

fundraising letter

The good news is that it takes very little to get and retain volunteers! You can start by preparing an appreciation letter for volunteers to express their significance to your charitable institution.

Do you need more ideas? 

Read on to explore the best ways to strengthen your organization-volunteer relationships and how to get started!

Let’s dive right into it!

What is Volunteer Appreciation?

Featured snippet: Volunteer appreciation refers to expressing your thankfulness to volunteers who invest their time and effort into your organization’s causes. They aren’t mandated to support you, nor are they paid workers. But they show up regardless of these factors, so you must appreciate their efforts.

While you have many options to communicate with them, like social media or email, choosing personal channels like direct mail can do wonders. It is more memorable and engaging, ensuring that new and returning volunteers have a positive experience and stay enthusiastic about supporting you year after year.

It can take time and resources to recognize volunteers, so we understand if that is a problem.

Hence, PostGrid offers automated direct mail solutions to nonprofits, helping them send postcards, letters, and other printed collateral to volunteers via a unified online platform. 

You can integrate our direct mail API into your current workflows and start printing and mailing letters within minutes. 

Volunteer Appreciation: Your Key to Acquiring and Retaining Volunteers Who Support You

Many people believe that volunteers assist random nonprofits whenever they have free time. Or that charitable institutions don’t have trouble getting volunteers to help them with fundraising, managing events, and other activities.

Let us burst these myth bubbles! 

Volunteers associate with organizations that support causes they have an interest in! For example, your nonprofit may help stray animals get medical support and adopters. So people who believe in this cause can connect with you!

Different volunteer appreciation ideas allow you to spread the word and retain existing volunteers by highlighting how they positively impact society.

The second myth is that nonprofits quickly get volunteers. Well, referring to the statistic discussed above, it is not! They put effort into drafting well-thought plans for involving more people and expanding their community.

Nonprofit organizations must work toward spreading their message to the masses for people to know them! Hence, volunteer appreciation is vital to help retain volunteers and motivate them to discuss your causes with their neighbours, families, and friends.

With nearly 86,000 registered charitable organizations in Canada, you must ensure your nonprofit causes get adequate attention and support!

Pre-Requisites to Planning and Launching Your Volunteer Appreciation Campaigns

Learning your volunteers’ preferences and drafting tailored volunteer appreciation ideas is the best way to get optimal results.

Before getting started, answer these questions with your team:

  • Who are your nonprofit’s volunteers? Do they belong to Gen Z, millennials, or an older generation? Please consider the typical characteristics of your current volunteers to understand them better and craft relevant appreciation campaigns to involve and appreciate them. Also, determine where they live and what they do for a living. Try learning about their hobbies and interests, enabling you to send relevant gifts or vouchers.
  • What are your objectives for conducting a recognition of volunteers campaign? Consider your desired results and the best action plan to achieve them. Also, decide which communication channels you want to use to reach the maximum number of volunteers.
  • What is your budget? Setting a budget beforehand allows you to plan your campaigns effectively. Also, please remember that you can employ many practical volunteer appreciation methods without burning a hole in your pockets. For example, sending direct mailers online via PostGrid can save money and effort while enabling you to retain volunteers and expand your fundraising activities.
  • How would you measure your campaign’s success? Use trackable methods and set upfront goals to determine your program’s performance. You may calculate results by determining how many volunteers respond or your overall engagement ratio.
  • What are the opportunities you can take benefit from when appreciating volunteers? Leverage the volunteer appreciation week or the international volunteer day to schedule campaigns and make them feel special.

Your Volunteer Appreciation Direct Mail Strategies

As discussed above, direct mail is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your volunteers. You may send them event details, asking them to assist you in arranging a fundraiser.

Or you can send volunteer participation certificates after the fundraiser! Direct mail enables you to leave a lasting impression and document all communications.

It also provides many opportunities for volunteers to be recognized and retained.

Email is a convenient alternative. But its low open and click-through rates will change your mind. Social media is also an option, but it feels less personal and unique than direct mail! Also, it is hard to personalize posts online, lowering their impact on people.

Imagine your volunteers working throughout the weekend to decorate an auditorium for a fundraising auction. Others spend the entire week preparing, sending invites, and calling potential donors. And you post one social media post thanking them after the event!

One post for the entire community! It doesn’t sound very appreciative.

You need better volunteer appreciation ideas to make an actual difference! Your volunteers must be excited to hear from you and want to associate with you for future projects.

Direct mail lets you be creative and stand out from the crowd! Let your volunteers remember you and become ambassadors for your causes.

Our clients at PostGrid, who run nonprofits in different parts of Canada, have much experience working with direct mail. They use our direct mail API integrations or automation software to conduct online campaigns at affordable rates.

Our senior accounts specialist met with one of them to look back at some of the most successful tips that worked for them and upcoming strategies. Here is a gist:

Create Compelling Messages for the Recognition of Volunteers.

Write heartfelt messages to your volunteers based on their actual experiences. Point out the event or fundraiser you want to thank them for and discuss how you couldn’t pull it off without them.

Make them feel special and motivate them to continue supporting your organization. You can write simple one-liners like, “You help us keep going daily, and we highly appreciate your efforts,” or “Thank you for everything you do for our community.”

Also, you can write an appreciation letter for volunteers, thanking them on behalf of the people you help, like women, special kids, and others. A simple “The children at Windson orphanage thank you for bringing a smile to their faces this summer” can go a long way. Feel free to curate these messages based on your volunteer interactions and community causes.

Choose Appropriate Design Elements and Visuals

Your direct mail design is the first thing people see when they open your envelopes. You can make an excellent impression and boost your volunteer appreciation strategies.

Many direct mail marketers need to pay more attention to details. But your artwork can make or break your campaign. It can be your secret to creating a buzz with appreciation letters or postcards and driving online engagement.

Our client has used this tip for many campaigns to get positive results. They include high-resolution images of their volunteers helping them during fundraisers like marathons, auctions, donor dinner parties, and other events.

You may also add pictures of the people your nonprofit helped to boost impact, highlighting the volunteers who made it possible! You can recognize volunteers who devote their time to your cause and help you accomplish your goals by implementing this idea.

Also, choose appropriate direct mail formats and sizes to suit your message. You can select anything, from a small-sized postcard to an oversized envelope, to differentiate your mailers from others.

PostGrid’s direct mail API offers many pre-built, professionally-designed templates for free. You can download them in HTML or PDF formats and customize them based on your preferences. It lets you save on design costs and add a personal touch to your mailers to improve your branding goals.

Customize Beyond the Recipient’s First Name

Have you ever received marketing emails where the company adds your first name in the subject line? It was trending initially but has become a common practice now. Hence, including your recipients’ names in your volunteer appreciation mailers is no longer impressive.

You need something more than that!

The best way to move forward with mail customization is to add more details. Think about when you last spoke with your volunteers. Also, consider which event they contributed to the most.

It lets you add personal details to volunteer appreciation ideas and make your message memorable.

Here is an example to give you an idea of how our client used this tip:

“Hey, James (the client knew the volunteer for a long time and decided to use an informal salutation). We are grateful for your involvement in the Charity 2024 for the Needy fundraiser, conducted on June 10, 2024. As we last discussed—this event can influence more people to donate to our causes, and we look forward to great things happening. But we couldn’t be here without you, so thank you, and we are blessed to have you in our community.” 

We will leave you to it—you can draft similar messages that can move your volunteers and motivate them to stay connected with your organization.

PostGrid can help you print these unique messages on your mailers and distribute them to the correct addresses. Our variable data printing capabilities enable you to produce mass mail items, each with different messages, in only two business days.

Isn’t it amazing how easy it is?

Measure Your Direct Mail’s Impact on Your Volunteer Appreciation and Retention Efforts

Gone are the days when you had to guess which communication or marketing channels produced the highest results. You may track your volunteer appreciation ideas to know if they were successful.

PostGrid’s automated direct mail solutions enable you to add custom QR codes and personalized URLs to your printed collateral. These trackable elements let you monitor every recipient’s actions.

For instance, our client asked its volunteers to leave a note about their experience by scanning a QR code that took them to their website’s volunteer community page. It allowed them to create more content for advertising purposes while making the members feel appreciated. Also, it helped them interact with all volunteers personally and hear their opinions.

They checked the campaign’s performance reports by logging into their dashboard. It let them understand how many volunteers scanned the QR codes and left notes, helping them measure their volunteer appreciation campaign’s success.

17 Best Volunteer Appreciation Ideas For Your Nonprofit

You can use direct mail to reach volunteers unlimitedly. Wear your creative hats and craft unique ways to thank them for their effort and support.

Here are the 17 best volunteer appreciation ideas to give you a headstart:

#1 Ship Impact Reports

Volunteers would love to learn about the impact of their contributions. Hence, draft reports highlighting the fundraisers they helped you host and noting how much you raised. Also, list how the money can help improve people’s lives.

Ensure you send them to the correct recipients, who know about these events and will value your message. It makes them feel appreciated and significant, prompting them to register to participate in more fundraisers.

Sending impact reports can affect volunteers psychologically and push them to contribute to your causes in many ways.

They can also share the report with their loved ones and encourage them to join your charitable organization.

#2 Themed Appreciation Cards

You can draft an annual content calendar to develop and use different themes. For example, you can add the volunteer appreciation week theme from April 16 to 22, 2024. Send appreciative cards, vouchers, and exclusive invites to volunteers throughout the week to make it memorable.

Also, please remember you don’t need to wait for special occasions to print and mail themed cards to your targeted audience. You can do it whenever you want, like by creating a “thanking our superstars” month!

Dedicating a specific day, week, or month to your volunteers allows you to celebrate their effort well. And PostGrid’s direct mail API can assist you in preparing and distributing your printed materials at the correct time!

#3 Milestone Celebrations

Launch triggered volunteer appreciation campaigns to send personalized mailers to volunteers whenever they

  • Complete another year with your nonprofit.
  • Volunteer for a specific number of fundraisers, like five, ten, fifteen, and so on.
  • Help you raise your desired amount via fundraising.

Include messages like “We reached the $100,000 fundraising goal again. And we have you to thank for it.” It makes them remember your causes and events and discuss them with others.

You don’t need to ask your staff to track every volunteer’s milestones with your organization. Set triggers using PostGrid’s direct mail automation platform and conduct timely volunteer appreciation mailings.

Your volunteers will appreciate the effort and continue conquering new heights with your institution.

#4 Volunteer Newsletters

Yes. Like other industries, nonprofit organizations can create weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletters. They can use them to highlight their recent achievements and how their contributions have impacted people’s lives. Also, they can use newsletters to thank volunteers and donors for their constant support and dedication to their causes.

One of the best volunteer appreciation ideas is to create and send newsletters to all volunteers at their doorsteps. Imagine your volunteers helping you host a marathon and raising money for the youth who cannot pay for their education. A few days later, they read about the event in the newsletters with a special thank-you message.

It can lift their spirits and make them return for more occasions. Also, by sending a direct mail item, you give them something tangible to remember you by and share with others. They can save the newsletter for their entire lives, which gives your organization unlimited exposure.

#5 Handwritten Volunteer Appreciation Notes

Be informal and friendly with your volunteers. Let them know you think of them as your institution’s beloved members whom you care for and appreciate. The best way to do so is by sending handwritten volunteer appreciation notes.

You can use mini-sized postcards with the director’s signature. Or send a one-page letter

with a personalized teaser on the outer envelope.

People appreciate handwritten notes because they show you took the time to draft them. But we understand it isn’t always the most feasible option. Hence, you may use appealing handwritten fonts and employ PostGrid’s automated direct mail services to complete the task without manual effort.

#6 Customized Image Cards

Image cards are postcards with large pictures. You can print a large-sized image of a volunteer working for your cause at a recent fundraising event. And write a small message behind it to thank them.

Recipients can frame these volunteer appreciation image cards and store them forever. Also, people who see these frames might enquire about your nonprofit and associate with your causes.

Hence, sending customized mailers fulfills the twin goals of thanking volunteers and spreading brand awareness. And don’t worry! PostGrid’s reputed printing partners can enable you to print high-quality image postcards to appeal to your recipients easily.

#7 Event Invitations

Nonprofits conduct many volunteer appreciation events to get together with their members and celebrate crucial occasions.

They might host family festivals, surprise parties, potlucks, movie nights, bowling, or BBQ events. It helps you know everyone, what they do, and what drove them to join your community. Also, it lets them learn about other volunteers and improve personal connections that can benefit your organization in the long run.

These events give volunteers something to look forward to every few months! Also, it allows you to improve their morale and encourages them to stay with your nonprofit for a long time.

If they volunteer for other nonprofits, they can talk to people there and prompt them to support your causes too!

#8 Get Everyone at Your Organization to Sign a Postcard

Circulate a postcard for everyone to sign at your office. Ensure everyone writes a small volunteer appreciation note.

Then, upload the scanned copy to PostGrid’s direct mail platform and place your orders to print and distribute them to your entire volunteer base.

A physical postcard lets your volunteers know you care about their emotions and value their time. Also, your staff’s signatures and thank-you messages make them feel motivated and supported. They can cherish your thoughtfulness and continue to be ambassadors for your projects.

PostGrid enables you to maintain quality and consistency. So each time someone gets your appreciation letter for volunteers, they will know you have taken special care to draft personalized and high-quality mailers for them!

#9 Wish Volunteers on Their Birthdays and Anniversaries

Your volunteers are a crucial part of your nonprofit institution. Hence, being with them on their special days is essential. Sending birthday and anniversary greetings to their physical mailboxes can help bring them closer to you emotionally.

But how can you remember every volunteer’s birthday and anniversary? 

You are right! Automation can make it possible!

Integrate PostGrid’s direct mail API into your CRM to fetch data, set triggers, and conduct automatic mailings. You don’t need to remember dates or prepare birthday cards for every volunteer. PostGrid lets you bring these volunteer appreciation ideas to life by clicking a few buttons on your device.

#10 Reference Letters

We know what you are thinking! “Reference letters are for job interviews and recruitment. How can you use them for volunteer appreciation campaigns?”

The answer is—why not? 

We like to read positive things about ourselves, whether it is an appreciation email from our boss or an emotional note from a friend at our wedding.

Volunteer reference letters work the same way!

You can write a reference letter for every volunteer, expressing gratitude for their efforts. Highlight how their contributions have directly impacted your institution’s mission and how valuable their presence is for you!

Write it formally and elegantly so they can read it aloud to others and cherish the moment!

It is an out-of-the-box or unconventional volunteer appreciation idea to help you surprise people.

#11 Annual Report Recognition

Most nonprofits prepare annual reports for their stakeholders, donors, volunteers, and other community members. Adding your volunteers’ names to this report can help you fuel their enthusiasm and prompt them to spread the word.

Dedicate one or two pages to how your volunteers allow you to make a broad difference in society. Speak about your personal experiences and the missions you completed with their help.

It is among the best volunteer appreciation ideas to thank and retain your volunteers. Also, it enables you to spread visibility and attract more people to join your mission.

Prepare and ship your annual reports to everyone via our automated direct mail solutions. It is quick, easy, and cost-effective, allowing you to thank your volunteers without extra effort.

#12 Embed Video Links Into Your Mailers

You may record clips of your volunteers working for different causes and compile a volunteer appreciation video. Garner attention and thank your members by posting them on your YouTube and social media pages.

You can include these links in your direct mailers to ensure every volunteer sees the videos. Also, add pURLs to customize your messages according to the different projects your volunteers have worked on!

PostGrid helps you add pURLs effortlessly and track whether your recipients visited the links and saw the videos.

#13 Ask Volunteers for Their Feedback

Write an appreciation letter for volunteers and ask for their feedback. You may include questions like,

  • Can we add anything to our current projects?
  • Can we improve volunteer onboarding and communication?
  • Do you have any suggestions for us to boost our fundraising strategies?
  • Are you satisfied as a volunteer working for our organization? Is there a scope for improvement on our end?
  • Do you need additional resources to learn about our nonprofit’s mission?

These queries let you learn how happy your volunteers are to work with your brand. Also, it helps you boost retention by solving their problems and seeking and implementing valuable feedback.

This step is among the top volunteer appreciation ideas because you can make people feel good by seeking their advice. They feel like crucial decision-makers who contribute to your survival and growth!

You can use PostGrid’s direct mail platform to ship an appreciation letter for volunteers with a business reply envelope.

It is a prepaid and pre-addressed envelope that recipients can use to write back to you without paying anything! This technique allows you to increase response rates and let your volunteers know how much their feedback matters to your organization.

#14 Take Advantage of the Holidays

Treat your volunteers to coffee, lunch, or something else during the holidays. You may partner with some local brands or shops to offer discounts to your members as part of your volunteer appreciation campaigns.

Print discount codes or offers on your direct mailers and send them to your volunteers’ delivery addresses. PostGrid lets you verify and reformat your mailing lists according to Canada Post’s guidelines to save on postage and ship mailers to accurate destinations.

Also, you can track your sent items in real time via your dashboard. It keeps you informed and helps you access the campaign’s detailed results.

#15 Promote a Contest

Acquire and retain volunteers by promoting fun contests like “Bring a Friend Along.” You can ask them to bring another person to help with your upcoming fundraiser.

Run a lucky draw for everyone who brings more people, and reward the winner with an exciting gift. Remember, you don’t need to spend a lot! The trick is to spark interest and engagement to make things fun for the volunteers.

Also, it is an excellent idea for volunteer appreciation, where you can play games and reward people who support you!

Send postcards explaining the rules to all volunteers. Include website links to register themselves and their friends to enter the contest. You may also publish a dedicated social media post to thank the winning volunteers.

#16 Launch Omnichannel Campaigns

Combine your direct mail volunteer appreciation ideas with online channels to get the best outcomes and more publicity.

For example, you can conduct simultaneous email and direct mail campaigns to reinstate your messages and grab your target audience’s attention. Or broadcast dedicated social media posts to thank volunteers the same day your mailers arrive at their doorsteps.

PostGrid’s API integrations make launching omnichannel campaigns a breeze. You don’t need to install several applications or work on many platforms. Our detailed API docs let you incorporate online direct mailing functions into your CRM, helping you send your volunteer appreciation postcards or letters directly from your system.

#17 Include Real-Life Testimonials from the People You Help.

You can add real-life stories of the people your organization supports. Also, you can ask some of them to write thank-you messages for volunteers who worked hard to raise funds for specific missions.

It is the best way to conduct campaigns for the recognition of volunteers who invest hours, days, and weeks to make your causes a reality.

They would love to hear from the people they indirectly helped. But ensure you send these messages promptly after your fundraisers when the cause is fresh in the minds of your volunteers.

Leverage Direct Mail Automation With PostGrid to Thank and Retain Your Volunteers

PostGrid helps nonprofits and charitable organizations conduct successful volunteer appreciation campaigns. They can use our dashboard, API integration, or automation software to start according to their preferences and needs.

Our solutions assist you from start to finish! Hence, your staff does not need to spend days and weeks planning the program. Also, they need not contact designers, printing companies, and couriers to negotiate rates and place orders.

We offer them a centralized system to print and mail their volunteer appreciation mailers online. They can spend a few minutes drafting their postcards or letters using our templates and selecting other options, and voila!

Ship Different Collaterals

Our client uses our API integrations to send postcards, letters, newsletters, and more. They experiment with different appreciation letters for volunteers to see which one gets the maximum responses.

Additionally, they send postcards and envelopes of different sizes each time. It ensures they make their mailers unique and gives their volunteers something new to look forward to during every campaign.

Recently, our client got the highest responses for a 6” x 9” postcard with a portrait orientation. The trick was to get creative and catch volunteers off guard with the best appreciation message.

Send Your Volunteer Appreciation Messages in Large Volumes

PostGrid does not restrict the number of mailers your institution can send via our platform. We support on-demand and bulk mailing based on your needs.

For example, you may conduct a mass volunteer appreciation campaign. Or you can send drip mailers to them on their birthdays or whenever they participate in a fundraiser.

Our scalable solutions can accommodate your ever-growing needs, allowing you to scale up or down whenever needed. You don’t need to pay minimal fees or setup charges, which lets you send any number of items on any date.

Our client shared their experience working with us:

“PostGrid lets you send any mail item anywhere. You don’t need to think twice before sending a postcard to a donor or volunteer. Similarly, you can send thousands of mailers under the same campaign without worrying about technical or other issues. Its support and sales team are also incredible.” 

Use Mailing Inserts for Higher Engagement

Nonprofits can add mailing inserts to their volunteer appreciation letter envelopes. They can include a report, newsletter, or donation request that volunteers can pass on to others.

It enables you to send two mailers using one envelope to save costs and time. Also, it lets you improve engagement rates and spread brand awareness.

Get Postal Discounts and Maximize Your Budget Usage

Canada Post offers low postal rates for nonprofits if they prepare their mailers according to their guidelines. PostGrid allows you to avail yourself of these advantages during your volunteer appreciation programs.

Our reputable printing network can help prepare and presort your items, considering Canada Post’s rules. Also, please note that PostGrid offers the lowest direct mail rates nationwide, helping nonprofits transform their offline communications without investing much.

You can start with our starter plan and upgrade to the enterprise one as your mailing needs grow! The process is seamless and quick; you can always contact us with questions or queries.

Sign up to learn more about how PostGrid can help you print and distribute volunteer appreciation mailers in any number quickly and affordably!

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