Volunteers are remarkable players in the nonprofit world.
And while they don’t sacrifice their time, energy, and talents for recognition, writing thank you letters to formally acknowledge (and show gratitude for) their efforts is good practice for your nonprofit.
This article covers everything you need to know about writing a thank you letter to volunteers.
Read on to get started!
3 reasons why it’s important to write a thank you letter to volunteers
You know that volunteers are invaluable to your nonprofit.
They’re the hands and feet often carrying out your nonprofit's mission, helping you achieve your organization’s goals and serve your target communities.
Volunteers donate their time and energy to serve your nonprofit.
Their contributions keep your nonprofit running. They also help you execute capital campaigns, fundraising galas, and other projects you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Because volunteers are integral to nonprofits and provide support for free, organizations send thank you letters to show their gratitude and recognition.
Writing letters of thanks to your volunteers should be standard practice for your nonprofit.
Below we highlight three reasons it’s essential to thank your volunteers, no matter the size or scope of their role.
1. Volunteers deserve recognition
Volunteers sacrificially serve your organization.
They devote themselves - free of charge - to seeing your nonprofit thrive.
They don’t expect anything in return: a beautiful aspect of nonprofit-volunteer partnerships.
A thank you note is a simple, personal way to acknowledge their generosity and sacrifice.
Financial donors are essential to your nonprofit. But volunteers play an equally important role.
Show them they matter and that you value what they bring to the table.
2. A thank you note inspires future service
Thank you notes communicate the value you place on your volunteers.
This simple gesture of gratitude communicates that you appreciate the individuals who gave of themselves to serve.
Volunteers are happy to donate their time, but they want to know their efforts matter and make a difference.
Sending letters shows that you see their sacrifice and value their contributions.
Thank you letters inspire volunteers to serve again in the future.
3. Written thanks creates a personal connection to your nonprofit
People are happy to volunteer with nonprofits and causes they feel connected to.
Personal thank you notes foster a relationship with your volunteers beyond a one-time service event.
When volunteers feel a personal connection and responsibility to your nonprofit, they’re committed to your causes.
The connection created through a simple thank you letter can snowball into a long-term commitment, turning volunteers into ambassadors.
Best practices for writing a volunteer thank you letter
Thanking your volunteers is a must.
And there’s an art to crafting a great thank you letter.
Read along as we explore best practices for writing a thank you letter to volunteers.
1. Be prompt
When sending thank you letters to volunteers, write and send them promptly.
The best practice for thank you timelines is 2 to 4 business days. The sooner you can write and send them out, the better.
You know that in the nonprofit space, everyone on your team wears many hats and juggles various responsibilities.
This is especially true after an event. Ensure all thank you cards are sent promptly by keeping detailed records of volunteers, how they served, and contact information.
Assign a team member the responsibility of writing thank you letters.
Preemptively organizing your thank you letter strategy ensures all volunteers are thanked promptly after they serve.
2. Be consistent
Within your nonprofit exist workflows and protocols that your team follows.
Set and uphold a process for writing and sending thank you letters to your volunteers.
Determining standards - and having a written document including formats, protocols, and other specifics - for your thank you notes creates consistency within your organization.
By establishing a schedule and protocol for thank you letters, you can ensure all volunteers are thanked.
3. Be sincere
Creating protocols and processes for your thank you notes is a helpful way to ensure your team sends thank you letters and all volunteers are recognized for their work.
But no two letters should be the same.
Each volunteer is an individual bringing unique talents to your projects. Your thank you letters should reflect that.
Each letter should be personalized to the volunteer and thank them for the specific way they served.
Personalized letters of thanks require minimal effort but reap significant rewards.
Volunteers will feel endeared to your team and nonprofit and be excited to return for more events.
4. Focus on your mission
A thank you letter can be an excellent avenue to remind volunteers how their service contributes to the big-picture mission of your nonprofit.
Much volunteer work is behind-the-scenes and comes with little - if any - public recognition.
It’s not glamorous, and in the middle of a long day or week of volunteering, your people might forget how something as simple as handing out water or signing attendees into an event supports your organization.
Your volunteers give of themselves because they believe in your work.
When writing thank you letters, show them how what they have done builds your nonprofit, serves a purpose, and brings your organization closer to its goals.
5. Get creative
You’ll likely have a list of individuals regularly volunteering with your organization.
After a few events, service opportunities, or year end giving campaigns, you might find yourself saying the same things in your thank you letters.
If you’ve got repeat volunteers (a wonderful gift!), get creative with showing gratitude.
Give volunteers a phone call. Present them with branded swag, like mugs, shirts, or stickers. Mail a picture of them serving with a short note of thanks.
Gestures of gratefulness don’t have to be expensive or outlandish.
Showing you see their service and care goes a long way, no matter how you choose to express your gratitude.
3 volunteer thank you letter templates
At Anedot, we know you balance many plates as you manage your organization.
Thank you notes should inspire gratefulness and joy because they’re a sign that you have a team of people willing to spend their time and energy supporting your cause.
But getting started with thank you letters can feel daunting, especially when your never-ending to-do list feels a mile long.
We have compiled three helpful thank you letter templates.
Follow these great templates to show your volunteers the thankfulness and appreciation you feel.
1. A formal thank you
Dear [volunteer name],
Thank you for volunteering at [volunteer activity or event]. We are grateful for your willingness to give your time, energy, and talents. Your support of [insert organization name] allows us to continue fulfilling our mission and serve [number] people in our community every year.
Thanks to your efforts and generosity, we can continue meeting the needs of our neighbors by providing [service provided]. Not only does your work support our organization, but it also supports our entire community.
Again, thank you for your willingness to donate your time and service to us and those we serve. Your efforts contribute significantly to our success. We look forward to your continued involvement with [organization name].
[Your name], [Your title]
2. Thanking a new volunteer
Dear [volunteer name],
Thank you for joining [organization name]’s team of incredible volunteers! We are grateful you chose to donate your time and talents to our organization! It was wonderful meeting and getting to know you at [volunteer event].
Your support of our work means so much! I hope to see you at more volunteer events in the future!
[Name and title]
3. Thank you for a committee/event volunteer
Thank you for your hard work on the [committee/event name]! With your help, this event brought in [$ amount] to help support our [type of work]
[Organization name] wouldn't be able to fulfill our mission of [mission] without the commitment and generosity of volunteers like you.
Thank you for all that you do for and alongside us! We are grateful for your willingness to give your time and talents!
[Your name and title]
Your volunteers help your nonprofit in innumerable ways.
You could never repay every volunteer for the time and energy they donate to your organization.
But you can say thank you.
Writing a thank you letter to your volunteers is a simple yet profound way to show gratitude for their selfless generosity.
If you’ve got volunteers serving your nonprofit, send a thank you letter today!