Thanking your volunteers

Thanking our volunteers is all about recognising the great work they do, and letting them know how much we value them

When taking the girls away to camp, it's always great to get a thank you card from them at the end. The personal little messages from the girls are always funny, touching and heartfelt! A great reminder of why I volunteer - Kim Whitmore, Guide Leader and Lead Volunteer for Membership Growth and Retention

Volunteers make guiding happen, so show them how much you appreciate them

Saying thank you to volunteers is so important. It recognises the contribution they make to our charity, to the girls and young women we support, and to each other.

Recognise every contribution

Take time to give your thanks in a way that is appropriate to the volunteer and what they've done to make guiding happen.

  • Show your gratitude to everyone including young Leaders, Unit Helpers, occasional volunteers and helpful parents.
  • Recognise all lengths of service - an event, a volunteer's first six months or year as well as longer commitments.
  • Arrange a general thank you for big groups and add a personal touch for an individual.
  • Match your thank you to the person who's receiving it. Think about their age, their interests, what's accessible to them, their allergies or medical conditions.
  • Consider how soon after an event or meeting to say thank you, and how reguarly to say it too.

Letting volunteers know they are appreciated will make them feel valued and respected. By giving them a positive experience of Girlguiding, you'll keep them coming back to help out.

Ways to say thank you

These ways to show your appreciation have all been tried and tested by our members.

Just say it! - give volunteers an individual thank you for their time, as often as you can and every meeting if possible.

Get your girls involved - our young members are the reason that we all give our time. So ask them to help you give recognition to a volunteer and see what original suggestions they make.

Use a special occasion - hold a celebration of your local volunteers during National Volunteers' Week, on World Thinking Day or another special time. Organise a special event for them to share their stories and invite families too.

Celebrate small achievements - acknowledge time spent on everyday guiding such as organising an activity in your unit. Send a personal card or e-card. If it's right for them, you can even send them a quick text message. Give them a small gift - flowers are always appreciated! Or take your volunteer out for a coffee.

Don't give vouchers to say thank you. Vouchers can count as 'being paid' for volunteers who receive benefits. Give a gift instead!

Recognise big achievements - when a volunteer has done something exceptional, show your gratitude with a special Girlguiding award. Spread the word and tell your local press about their successes too.

The best things are free - you don't need to spend money. Think about what you can make, say or sing! You could even finish a meeting with a round of applause.

Here's some inspiration for a thank you video that you can film on your phone.