98 Ways to Say “Thank You!” to Your Volunteers
Gracias! Dankeschon! Merci! In any language, these ideas will help you say thank you and express your gratitude to volunteers’ hearts.
“Thanks” is such a simple word, and it comes in many forms—some quick and easy, others more time-consuming and crazy. You’ll never run out of thank yous with almost 100 ways to say it.
Encouragement
1. Send a postcard made of foam with a special Scripture verse of encouragement.
2. Provide a place and time for prayer with volunteers before the hectic morning begins.
3. Plan a team retreat for encouragement and spiritual renewal.
4. Give small copies of encouraging stories or phrases from such authors as Max Lucado, Florence Littauer, or Oswald Chambers.
5. Have your pastor and governing board commission new volunteers with prayer.
6. Create a laminated Bible bookmark with a Scripture verse.
7. Find a prayer partner for each volunteer. Send this card: “Pray-er’s name is praying just for you and Jesus’ kids!”
8. On parchment paper, personalize a “Letter from Jesus.”
9. Create a personalized Scripture card for each person with a positive verse that reminds you of him or her.
10. Pray for a different volunteer each day. Send a card telling the volunteer you prayed for him or her that day.
11. Print a poem, cartoon, or encouraging quote on colorful paper for each volunteer.
Words of Affirmation
12. Write three to five quick thank you notes each week.
13. Send volunteers an “E-mail Greeting Card!”
14. Make random phone calls just to say thanks.
15. Write a note in bright colors on a blank puzzle, break it apart, and send the pieces.
16. Use paint pens to write on heart key chains: “We Love YOU!”
17. Have children complete “You’re special to me because…” slips. Then present the slips to teachers.
18. Hang vinyl banners that say, “Thanks, children’s ministry volunteers!”
19. In a children’s ministry celebration service, invite the congregation to show appreciation for volunteers.
20. Include children’s positive comments about volunteers in your church newsletter.
21. Send a thank you letter to volunteers’ spouses.
22. Give your teachers the summer off with a big “Thanks, see you next fall!”
23. Make a “Certificate of Appreciation” for each volunteer.
Gift-Giving
Personalized Gifts
24. Personalize Christmas tree ornaments with names and a meaningful Scripture reference.
25. Use paint pens to inscribe each volunteer’s name on a tea cup.
26. Take class pictures. Frame them and have kids sign each frame.
27. Have each child decorate a quilt square. Then have the squares sewn together for the children’s teacher.
Ministry-Related Gifts
28. Make button pins for all your volunteers: “KIDS LOVE ME!”
29. Copy your children’s ministry mission statement on computer mouse pads.
30. Place classroom supplies such as stickers, stamps, and stamp pads inside a basket and wrap it in colorful cellophane.
31. Print your children’s ministry’s logo on coffee mugs. To each one, attach this note: “You add an extra measure of flavor!”
32. Give T-shirts with your ministry logo.
33. Have an advertising agency put your logo and theme verse on water bottles. Attach this note: “Thanks for running with our kids’ programs.”
34. Give canvas tote bags imprinted with your logo, church name, and a special Bible verse.
Gifts Everyone Will Enjoy
35. Give inexpensive salt shakers with Matthew 5:13a printed on them.
36. Give a small bouquet of flowers.
37. Volunteer to take leftover “gift with purchase merchandise” off a department store’s hands to use as thank you gifts.
38. Design a perpetual calendar with 365 of your favorite verses and phrases.
39. Give a video rental coupon and a bag of microwave popcorn.
40. Surprise a volunteer with a balloon bouquet.
41. Plant a spring bulb in a clay pot. Use raffia to tie on this card: “Praise God that you’re blooming where He planted you!”
42. Give a bottle of blowing bubbles with this: “Jesus’ love bubbles over in you!”
43. Give “World’s Greatest Sunday School Teacher” pens or pencils-to everyone.
44. On a paddle ball racket, write: “Have fun after a great class.”
45. Give holiday pens or pencils on a Sunday morning near a holiday.
46. Place a pretty bow on a pack of recipe cards, including one of your favorite recipes. Attach this note: “You have the ingredients of a great teacher!”
47. Give a four-pack of light bulbs with this note: “You’re the light of the world!”
48. Decorate a plastic light switch plate with Micah 7:9.
49. Give a gift certificate for dinner out.
50. Use the Internet to send a bouquet of flowers.
51. Give a small rubber ball with this note: “Our kids are having a ball with you!”
Treats
52. Have a “Root Beer Float Party” with kids as the hosts.
53. Hand out mixed bags of Hershey’s Hugs® and Kisses®.
54. Give a 100 Grand® candy bar with this note: “You’re worth 100 Grand to us!”
55. Give a banana with this message: “Thanks bunches! We go bananas for your help!”
56. At Christmas, give a festive mug with a candy cane and a packet of cocoa inside.
57. Give a long-stemmed chocolate rose.
58. Send a “cookie gram”-a giant cookie with “thanks” iced on it.
59. Leave a plate of homemade cookies in each classroom.
60. Fill plastic red apple containers with jelly bellies or sugarless candies. Give with this note: “You’re the apple of God’s eye!”
61. Leave gold-wrapped chocolate coins or Hershey’s Kisses® with this note: “Your work with children is more precious than gold. Thanks!”
62. Give each volunteer a gift certificate for a treat from Baskin-Robbins or TCBY.
63. Give a package of M&M’s® with this note: “Thanks for sharing God’s Majesty & Might with our children!”
64. Hold a “Cookie Exchange” where each parent bakes two dozen goodies. Gift wrap plates of varied goodies and have parents deliver the treats to volunteers’ homes.
65. Give a pack of gum with this note: “Thanks for sticking with us!”
Appreciation Parties
66. Thank all volunteers with an children-hosted “After-Holidays Open House.” Serve appetizers and festive punch or hot apple cider.
67. Allow children to plan a party for volunteers on a Sunday morning.
68. Celebrate with a royal “Ambassador’s Dinner” since volunteers are ambassadors for Christ.
69. Host a volunteers’ barbecue with special music and great steaks.
70. Have a Volunteers’ Hallelujah Hop with kids singing Christian versions of ’50s music, Hula Hoop contests, and great desserts.
71. Have a Volunteer Hallelujah Luau with an island-themed video of kids celebrating volunteers.
Training and Meetings
72. Put a birthday hat, party blower, and streamer at each chair for a meeting. Serve birthday cake and celebrate everyone’s un-birthday.
73. At your next meeting, surprise volunteers with party decorations. Then celebrate!
74. Pay for volunteers to attend workshops that benefit their ministry.
75. Include your volunteers’ top interests for speakers, meetings, or educational needs in training meetings.
76. Get a massage therapist or nurse to give back rubs at a meeting.
77. Use gold fabric puff paint to put each person’s name on a funny hat. Have volunteers wear their hats during an entire training meeting.
78. Give great door prizes at meetings and celebrations.
Classroom Help
79. Check each classroom for basics such as crayons, felt markers, paper, Bibles, stapler, and scissors.
80. Have parents decorate classroom doors.
81. Enlist support teams to help teachers with baking, crafts, or music.
82. Surprise each volunteer with a gift subscription to Children’s Ministry Magazine.
83. Give a new book of holiday crafts, inspirational stories, picture books, or activity books.
84. Develop a “Homeroom Parent” program to help teachers with tasks such as attendance, follow-up, encouragement, and snack preparation.
Recognition
85. Create a shadow box area in a visible area. Put up a volunteer’s picture and a short write-up. Tie a Mylar balloon of “Thanks” beside the box.
86. Have all your volunteers stand in a church service as someone sings a special song such as “Thank You!” by Ray Boltz or “Who Is Gonna Tell The Child?” by Acapella.
87. Feature a teacher each month in your church bulletin, newsletter, or worship folder.
88. Take slide pictures and/or make videos during the year for a Volunteer Appreciation Sunday.
89. Reserve a special parking spot for the “Teacher of the Week.”
90. Feature a different children’s ministry program on a bulletin board in the adult education area.
91. Send out a “Volunteer Gram” each week with news and announcements. Include a big thank you to individual volunteers in each issue.
Other Ways to Say Thanks
92. Set up a Sunday Siesta Section in a quiet room, stocked with flavored coffees and teas, bagels or muffins, and inspirational music.
93. Design “coupon books” for volunteers, personalized with things you’ll do for them, such as “two hours of child care.”
94. Make “Warm Fuzzies”-small, colorful pom-pom balls with wiggle eyes and paper feet. Place a “Warm Fuzzy” on each attendance folder.
95. Use bright colored paper and tablet adhesive to make a computer-generated notepad for each volunteer.
96. Give lapel pins that say thanks-a cross, a “Jesus” fish, an angel, or a “#1 Teacher” pin.
97. Organize a car wash for volunteers’ cars. Have kids do all the work for free.
98. Make a mural with candid shots of teachers and children.
Mary Van Aalsburg is a children’s minister in Fresno, California.
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