We all love our volunteers at church, but how often do we tell them? Almost every church leader manages some sort of volunteer program. Whether large or small, saying thanks goes a long way! Here are 20 ways to show appreciation for your church volunteers. You’ll also find some great volunteer appreciation gift ideas as well.
1) Volunteer Appreciation Gathering
Plan a special night just for the volunteers. Set tables, provide a meal (and childcare), and treat them to an event to celebrate them. Use this night to cast vision, highlight a few volunteers who have gone the extra mile, and give them a small gift to take home.
Matching t-shirts will make everyone on the team feel appreciated and included. They will feel part of the team and they will love representing their church out in the world when they wear it. Matching shirts will also help church volunteers be easily spotted on busy Sunday mornings. It’s a win-win!
3) Thank You Note
It’s hard to find anything better than the classic handwritten thank you note. Have volunteer team leaders write notes specifically for each of their team members. Make sure to highlight a few ways the volunteers have impacted the church with their service. These notes will become encouraging keepsakes for team members.
4) Include Them In Pre-Service Prayer Time
This may be a no-brainer, but including as many of the volunteers as possible when the church staff gathers for pre-service prayer goes a long way. It will make them feel appreciated, included, and also give them an opportunity to pray for the church with their leaders on Sunday mornings.
5) Make A Highlight Video
Choose a volunteer to share their story and make a video to share with the church. Not only does this help your congregation get to know each other’s stories, but it also encourages the volunteer who was chosen. It’s important to share testimonies of what God is doing in your church. Your volunteers are making a huge impact. Share their stories!
6) Give Them A Coffee Mug Filled With Treats
Church volunteers have to rise early to get to the church, so why not show your appreciation with a coffee mug filled with treats? Print your church’s name on the mug and it also serves as a keepsake for them to have at home to remind them of their church family.
7) Gift Cards
Speaking of coffee, who doesn’t love a gift card for their favorite coffee shop? This is an easy way to say thank you and make your coffee lovers very happy. Volunteering at church can be tiring with long hours. Offering a cup of coffee as a thank you goes a long way!
8) Use Social Media
Show your volunteers how much you love them by giving them a shout out on your church’s social media platforms. Post a few pictures and share what they do and why you appreciate them so much. Go the extra mile and get a quote from them and add it to the post. They will love sharing it with their friends and families.
9) Keep Them Informed
Is there something big coming up for your church? Keep your volunteers informed. Your volunteers love their church. That’s one reason they love to serve. When there’s information that will be shared with the entire congregation and it is something your volunteers could know first, tell them! Giving them a heads up about things will make them feel included and appreciated. They give so much of their time and attention to help the church leaders minister week after week. It is good to keep them as informed as possible.
10) Lunch With Leadership
When running a volunteer program, church leaders have the opportunity to spend a lot of time with their volunteers. Meet up for lunch with a few volunteers every month or so. Get to know them outside of the Sunday morning rush. Pray with them and build relationships with them. This will go a long way and can even result in some lifetime friendships.
11) Birthday Cards
Don’t forget those birthdays! Thankfully these days if your volunteers sign up to serve through a church software program like Planning Center Online then you will have all their birthdays on file. A simple card and a chorus of “Happy Birthday” in the pre-service meeting are sure to bring a smile to their face.
12) Training Seminar
This is a great way to show appreciation and continue training your church volunteers. Gather all your volunteers quarterly if possible and refresh them on any training that needs to be discussed. Break into groups to dive deeper into their training. There’s always more to learn and this will give volunteers a chance to meet with their team leader and ask questions while building comradery. The media team will love learning more of the ins and outs of church presentation software. The church tech team will have a chance to meet with the tech director to learn and ask questions. Church greeters and the parking team can gather and talk about being the first faces newcomers see. It’s important to continue training even with seasoned volunteers. This will not only make them feel appreciated, but it will also equip them to serve in more areas if they desire.
13) The Dream Team
Many churches show their love for their volunteers simply by changing what they call them. Have you heard of “The Dream Team?” This is a common name for church volunteers in many churches today. Every church leader understands that a team of dedicated and servant-hearted volunteers truly are a dream team. If you really love your volunteers then let it shine by calling them something that makes them feel appreciated.
14) Specialized Training
Do you have a volunteer that serves weekly and is always there when you need them? Say thank you by investing in specialized training for them. If they work with children or in security, pay for a First Aid & CPR course for them. This will not only equip your church with more professionally trained volunteers in an emergency, but it also equips your volunteers for their own lives if something were to go wrong. This goes the same for foodservice. Give your top foodservice volunteer a professional course on Food Safety. How about the media team? Do you have a few volunteers that really love serving in the tech booth? Check out the training offered by MediaShout (a top church presentation software that offers training that will take your volunteers to the next level). If you are a Plus Member with MediaShout, you can schedule a volunteer for a training call with a church media expert. You can also watch MediaShout’s on-demand training webinars with your entire team via the Plus Account Portal. Giving your volunteers access to specialized training is a great gift to say thank you. Tell them how you have noticed their service and that you want to give them more training so they can have greater responsibility or even become a team leader. They will feel seen, loved, and appreciated.
15) A Few Of Their Favorite Things
When they sign up to volunteer, send them a quick questionnaire. Ask them what their favorite candy is, when their anniversary and birthday are, what their favorite food is, or anything else that can help you with gift ideas. Then when their birthday comes up (or even at random!) surprise them with their favorite candy or a gift card to their favorite restaurant.
16) Gift With A Book
Is there a book that your church staff has read that you loved? Buy it in bulk and share it with your volunteer team. A book is a great way to say thank you!
17) Parents Night Out
Provide childcare for your volunteers to have a parent’s night out. They give so much of their time to serve their church. Give back to them by giving their kids a fun night at the church while they go out to enjoy some time together. Don’t forget to rotate your childcare workers or hire it out, so all the volunteers get to benefit from these nights!
18) Don’t Over Work Them
It can be tempting to schedule the same volunteers over and over, but don’t do it! They need to have Sundays to attend church with their families. It’s very important to take good care of your volunteer team and make sure none of them feel burned out. They will know you appreciate them when they see the care you take in making sure they get time with their families at church.
19) Be Prepared
One way you can make people feel unappreciated is to waste their time by being unprepared when they show up to serve. Honor your volunteer’s time by getting them any necessary information in advance. For media teams, this would be any slides you need prepared, or for the worship ministry, this could be songs they need to learn. Show them you appreciate them showing up on time and serving by having everything ready for them on your end. When you prepare and give them everything they need, you are setting them up for success. You want them to know that you value them, so show them with your actions.
20) Say It To Their Face
Say it out loud and as often as possible. When you see your volunteers serving around the church, make a point to walk up to them and encourage them. Tell them how much you appreciate them and thank them for their hard work. Be intentional about this. Make it a habit to thank your volunteers every chance you get. This needs to happen often. It’s important to show them how much you care on a regular basis. They are your Dream Team after all!