Large or small, most organizations and many nonprofits rely on volunteers. Naturally, you want to express your gratitude with volunteer appreciation gifts or other tokens expressing thankfulness.

The thing is: do volunteers really use the items they are given? Do volunteer gifts end up in storage, the trash, or worse, regifted? More importantly, do the gift ideas help the volunteers understand just how much their work matters to you and the community?

Here are seven ideas for volunteer appreciation gifts that will show how thankful you are to your amazing volunteers.

The Best Appreciation Gifts in 2020

1. Bronze Clock Keychain

Bronze plated keychain
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A clock and thank you tag complete this bronze-plated keychain, giving it an antique feel that surprisingly doesn’t feel out of place. A volunteer appreciation gift in bulk, you’ll get 10 keychains in this set, a perfect size for smaller groups.

These creative volunteer appreciation gifts can be used to thank many different groups, working well as classroom volunteer recognition gifts along with those who volunteer with charities or within religious communities.

2. Customized Glass Coaster

Custom text laser square glass coasters
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Have custom text or images laser engraved into this four-piece set of square glass coasters that show how much you appreciate people giving their time to help out your organization. Any time they sit their drink down on it, they will remember the work they did and the impact it made.

Personalized volunteer appreciation gifts ideas are great thank you gifts because they combine a quality product with your personal touch.

3. Personalized Pens with Stylus

Pens with stylus
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A volunteer appreciation gifts bulk buy, made even better by the fact that they offer free customization, use up to 40 characters to engrave thank you, a quote or each individual volunteer’s name.

Versatile, the retractable pen’s tip is a stylus for touch screen devices. Available in assorted colors, this 24-piece set makes for an inexpensive volunteer appreciation gift that offers value to volunteers of all ages – perfect for volunteer week.

4. Handcrafted Scented Soy Candle

Frankincense burning candle
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This clean burning candle’s label can be customized with your very own thank you message. The best volunteer appreciation gifts align well with a company’s goals, making this one excellent for showing volunteer appreciation for those who care about clean living and the environment.

Made from wax grown in the United States, it supports American soy farmers and the 100% cotton wick burns without releasing heavy metals.

5. Motivational Water Bottle

Motivation water bottle
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Made from non-toxic material, this 30 oz. water bottle comes with all the inspiration volunteers need to stay hydrated so they can keep giving their best. It features a time marker that helps people drink more water daily and a straw to drink while running and easy one-hand operation for opening the nozzle.

Available in 5 colors, these useful water bottles are cool and easy volunteer staff appreciation gifts that send a clear message of gratitude.

6. Gratitude Bracelet Cuff

Stainless steel gratitude bracelet
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Gifts for volunteer appreciation week should be cherished by recipients and this cuff is sure to please. Very sleek and elegant, the cuff has “never underestimate the difference you made and the lives you touched” engraved on the interior and is made from 100% recyclable stainless steel that’s hypoallergenic and nickel free.

Timeless, it is one of the best school, work or church volunteer appreciation gifts to give.

7. Mini Glass Jars with Cork Stoppers

Mini glass jar with cork stoppers
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Lovers of DIY volunteer appreciation gifts have a unique opportunity to create volunteer appreciation gifts cheaply and easily with these jars. Sold in a set of 24, slip a piece of paper inside, telling volunteers what makes them special. You can give them an even better understanding of their value and impact by having the staff contribute to each jar.

One of the most creative volunteer appreciation gifts, they won’t soon be forgotten.

Giving Appreciation Gifts For Volunteers

Sincerely expressing gratitude to volunteers affirms that their choice to give their time freely was a good choice indeed. Saying thank you also does something else: humbly indicates your organization’s dependence on others.

Volunteer appreciation gifts done right will retain the best volunteers as well as bring in more helping hands. Many organizations simply cannot function without their volunteers, so learn how to give them thoughtful gifts that acknowledge all they’ve done.

Volunteer appreciation gifts should:

1. Be personal

“Thanks to everyone who gave their time” is very generic and risks alienating people. Avoid the generic and express your gratefulness in real ways by acknowledging specific contributions individuals have made.

2. Include everyone

Limiting the appreciation to only those hardcore volunteers does not give anyone else an incentive to come back. There are plenty of budget-friendly volunteer appreciation gifts, like bookmarks, gift cards or t-shirts, that make spreading the easy.

3. Reinforce purpose

Ideas for volunteer appreciation gifts that encourage people to continue supporting worthwhile causes do wonders, especially on days when they may question why they’re volunteering. Examples of gift ideas are using pictures of staff and volunteers working on projects or quotes from people they’ve worked with.

4. Foster a connection

Volunteer appreciation gifts in this category encourage volunteers to relate to each other, strengthening their bonds. For example, bracelets engraved with scriptures are great Christian volunteer appreciation gifts, while relaxing candles with a personal message imply that everyone has the right to be tired; they’ve worked hard and deserve some downtime.

5. Encourage autonomy

Gift ideas that promote independence within an organization cultivate feelings of inclusion, ownership and responsibility. These are also some of the more inexpensive volunteer appreciation gifts, including lanyards, tote bags or lapel pins for volunteers who are in charge or training and programming materials on thumb drives.

6. Be an ongoing effort

Volunteer Appreciation Day is a wonderful way to praise volunteers’ time and effort, but hopefully this isn’t the only day you are taking the time out to recognize your volunteers. Waiting until the end of the year isn’t necessary either, items on this list are perfect to hand out anytime.

Show Your Appreciation with A Gift

An important aspect of any organization’s long-term success, prioritizing volunteer appreciation gifts make volunteers feel noticed, and in turn, spread the word that working with your group is worthwhile. 

The importance of meaningful and engaging volunteer appreciation gifts cannot be overlooked, and with the ideas on this list, you’ll find gifts that volunteers will actually use and value.