Let’s be honest. You couldn’t do what you do without your volunteers. They are the lifeblood of your ministry. So, as you prepare to celebrate the incredible news of Christmas, take time to celebrate the incredible volunteers that help you share that good news.
Here are four ways to do it.
Send them a handwritten card.
There is nothing like getting a handwritten note – unless that handwritten note is clearly a generic greeting that went out to every volunteer.
Take the time to write a personal note to each of your volunteers. Thank them specifically for how they serve. Tell them how you uniquely appreciate them. Share how you’re praying for them.
Depending on the size of your team, this may take a bit of planning to allot enough time to get them all done by Christmas. If you oversee a team of staff, divide up the volunteer list so that the staff member who knows each volunteer best sends the card.
It’s simple and personal.
Give them a small gift.
This one entirely depends upon the size of your budget – but I’ve seen churches come up with creative and (relatively) inexpensive gifts to give their volunteers.
Here are just a few examples.
Get a custom ornament made with your ministry logo (ideally include a personalized note about the impact they’re making through serving). You can find a ton of options on sites like Etsy, but if you simply Google “Customized Shatterproof Ornaments” you will find dozens of sites that will put your logo on an ornament for as low as a couple of dollars a piece.
You can do the same with a coffee mug or a water bottle (which they could use all year – as opposed to just at Christmas). There are dozens of sites that will do custom printing of your logo, your ministry mission statement, or a particular Bible verse for about $5 a piece. That can add up if your team is large, but think of it this way. Every time they use it they will be reminded that they are a part of something amazing!
Select a book to give to every volunteer. This will, obviously, be the priciest. But if your budget allows – and you select wisely – it may be worth it. For instance, you could give them a one-year devotional to use as they begin the New Year, or a book that reflects the mission and values of your ministry.
Get the kids in on it!
When I was leaving a position at one church to take a role at another church, our Children’s Director made a cutout of our ministry logo and had all the kids fill it in with their thumb prints. That was almost ten years and three jobs ago and I still have it hanging in my office.
You don’t have to do anything that elaborate for every volunteer – but you could do it on a smaller scale. You could print out a bunch of 5x7 or 8x10 prints of Christmas-themed outlines that the kids could thumbprint in the outline. You could even have a volunteer oversee it without telling them what it’s for! Just make sure you have enough prints for every volunteer. I promise they’ll cherish that artwork forever.
That’s just one way to get kids involved. There are a thousand other ways you could include them. So, think about it! As much as a personal gift would mean from you, a personal gift that involves the kids their serving would (no offense) mean even more.
Throw them a Christmas party.
This may be the most expensive option (though it need not be ridiculously expensive). But if you don’t have any sort of volunteer celebration event the rest of the year, then I would encourage the investment.
Your volunteers have limited time to get to know one another when they’re serving. So, give them that opportunity by getting them all together.
Pro Tip: Have a couple of optional games and activities planned. Don’t over-program the event. Let conversations happen. But plan for a key moment near the end of the night that invites your team to share stories about the past year. Talk about and celebrate the kiddos that gave their life to Christ. Share the sweet (and often hilarious) conversations with your children. Ask your volunteers what they’re dreaming about and praying for the next year.
Have a great week!