As 2017 comes to a close, many leaders are thinking of ways to 'finish strong'. One way I personally want to finish strong is by thanking those who serve alongside me in ministry. I certainly have a lot of improvement regarding appreciating the volunteers who serve faithfully each week, but here are three ways I seek to appreciate those who volunteer throughout the year.
Write a Handwritten Note
For many people, receiving a handwritten note is very meaningful. I usually keep the note 3-4 sentences in length, thanking the volunteer for something specific I've seen them do. I then ask my Administrative Assistant to place it in the mail to be delivered to their home address. I typically spend Monday mornings writing my thank you notes for the week. Handwritten notes take a little more time than sending an email or a text, but it is worth taking the extra time and effort.
Saying thank you in person
Each week, I try to find two-three additional volunteers that I can shake their hand, look them in the eye and say 'Thank you'. I don't mention anything specific or elaborate (unless I'm asked). I want them to know that I recognize them and that I'm not too busy to stop and appreciate the work they are doing. Since I am very task driven and not people focused, I have to be intentional about this each week.
Send an email or text message
Finally, toward the end of the week, I will send a few thank you emails to two-three different volunteers in my ministry area. I typically add this to my Google calendar to do every Thursday in the afternoon. Often when I send a message, the recipient will respond saying how much they appreciate the message. Sometimes a volunteer will respond with appreciation and a question they were meaning to ask. This opens up some communication between myself and the volunteer and lets them know I am available.
These are three simple ways that I show appreciation to those who volunteer in my ministry area. What are some ways you show appreciation to your volunteers?