DCEs, parents, and other youth leaders, have you remembered to say “thanks” to your volunteers for all the ways they have helped you this past summer?  Well, if you haven’t, it is never too late to say “thanks” to your volunteers!

But maybe you are asking, “How can I say ‘thanks’ in a meaningful way?”  That is a great question! Volunteers are essential for ministry within the church, not just youth ministry, so it is understandable that you would desire to thank your volunteers in a way that truly reflects your appreciation.

There are many ways to say “thanks,” but for simplicity, only a few ideas and tips will be explored.  Before we do that, remember that saying “thanks” is simply a way to show your appreciation, and that is what you are wanting to convey to your volunteer: “I appreciate your help!”

Idea 1: Small Gifts

In order to properly thank your volunteers, you need to buy them… a new car!  Just kidding!  Saying “thanks” does not mean buying expensive gifts.  In fact, you don’t have to buy any gifts at all if you don’t want to, but if you choose to go the gift route, small gifts are a way to go!  Small gifts could include taking a volunteer out to lunch, purchasing your volunteer an inexpensive devotional booklet, or giving your volunteer a key chain with a cross on it.  The possibilities are endless.

Idea 2: Public Recognition

Publicly recognizing people is another great way to say “thanks” and show your appreciation.  There are many ways to do this: You can thank someone during the appropriate time before and after Divine Service or a ministry event.  If you have many volunteers that you want to thank at once, then the church bulletin or the monthly newsletter is a great resource to utilize.

One caution with public recognition though—know your volunteers.  Some volunteers don’t want to be publicly recognized, at least individually.  The reasons for this can vary.  Some people don’t like to be the center of attention, while for others, the public recognition may create additional stress.  Especially when a volunteer is in the midst of taking care of their volunteer duties, such as wrangling up children.  If you have concerns about whether a volunteer wants to be publicly recognized, simply just ask them.  They can let you know!

Idea 3: Thank You Cards

Thank you cards are a great way to go!  Thank you cards allow you to genuinely show you appreciation for your volunteers by taking time to write a special message in the thank your card.  The message could be as simple as: “Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to assist with our ministry event.”  Again, as long as you are conveying your genuine appreciation for your volunteer or volunteers, there really isn’t a wrong way to write a thank you card.  Also, thank you cards are a great way for youth to show their appreciation as well!  You can have your youth group sign a thank you card for a volunteer or for a group of volunteers.  In fact, you could have your youth decorate the cards if you wanted to make the cards extra special.

The above ideas are just a few ways to say “thanks.”  In whatever way you choose to thank your volunteers, remember, it is about showing your appreciation for their help and service that they have brought to you and your congregation.