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20 Ways to Recognize Volunteers

ASPCA, National Shelter Outreach



Deliver recognition and reward in an open and publicized way. If not made public, recognition loses its impact and defeats much of its purpose. Do not, however, think that public recognition will substitute for private, everyday, personal thank yous and respect. What happens 365 days a year has much more impact than what happens at annual functions.

Timing is crucial. An immediate “thank you” or “great job” is much more important than a proclamation six months later. Tailor your recognition to the unique needs of the people involved. Deliver recognition in a personal and honest manner. Small personal indications of appreciation tend to be perceived as more sincere than formal pronouncements.

  1. Smile
  2. Be pleasant
  3. Say “Good Morning”
  4. Greet by name
  5. Respect their wishes
  6. Take time to explain
  7. Respect sensitivities
  8. Treat volunteers (soda, pizza…)
  9. Surprise with coffee and cake
  10. Send a birthday, valentine and Christmas card
  11. Write thank you notes
  12. Arrange for discounts or gift certificates
  13. Hold an annual picnic or volunteer recognition party
  14. Plan social events
  15. Award certificates of appreciation
  16. Give additional responsibility
  17. Include in organizational planning
  18. Utilize as consultants
  19. Celebrate outstanding projects and achievements
  20. Say “Thank You”

© 2001 ASPCA

Courtesy of

424 East 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128-6804

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