Nonprofits can show appreciation for their volunteers

April 24, 2013

Nonprofits can show appreciation for their volunteers

National Volunteer Week (April 21 through 27) is a great opportunity for nonprofit managers to recognize the people who donate their time and energy to support the organization's cause. Nonprofits often don't have the capital to have a lot of full-time staff members to run events or help with operations, which is why volunteers step in to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. These people may not expect recognition, but they deserve to be thanked for all they do for the organization.

Nonprofit Quarterly recently published a piece that referenced an AARP blog post that outlined a few ways nonprofit managers can show appreciation for their volunteering team members. A few of these ideas include:

  • Hosting a dinner for volunteers thanking them for their efforts
  • Providing volunteers with symbols of thanks from the organization 
  • Publishing articles in daily publications boasting the team's accomplishments

Be smart about rewarding volunteers
While nonprofit managers may want to give the world to volunteers who have been so helpful over the years, it's important to know there are strict guidelines volunteers have to follow when accepting benefits from organizations. According to Henry & Horne, an accounting firm in Arizona, giving volunteers gift cards could actually be a "taxable event to the recipient, and they could now qualify as a paid employee subject to employment taxes, withholdings and issuance of a Form W-2."

Nonprofit managers must remember volunteers don't need to be compensated with any sort of capital, and they help the organization out of the goodness in their hearts. A simple "thank you" is sometimes all volunteers need for recognition.


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We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


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Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

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Thresholds, Chicago, IL

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New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

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Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

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Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY