Volunteer appreciation week
We all know that Teacher Appreciation Week is a big deal in the world of Parent Teacher Groups (PTG) everywhere. But, did you know that there is an official Volunteer Appreciation Week?
Did you know that? Because I did not. Whoops!
I must admit I was unaware that this was an actual *thing* until last year. I uncovered the existence of Volunteer Appreciation Week early spring last year while I was combing Pinterest for Teacher Appreciation Week ideas. Yikes, that was a shocker!
Now, please don’t panic and start thinking “Oh my gosh, I have to come up with an elaborate plan for Volunteer Appreciation Week too?” I’m sure no one would stop you! But, no…that is not what I am suggesting. Maybe your PTG can find a few small ways to acknowledge your volunteers and thank them for the important part they play! Of course most of us in the PTG game aren’t exactly looking for something extra to put on our To-do Lists, am I right? But sometimes even the smallest gestures can make a big difference.
Let me give you a little extra background on how we have started to approach Volunteer Appreciation in my PTG. Because we weren’t in the position to do something special last year for volunteer appreciation week when I uncovered its existence, we decided we wanted to incorporate some volunteer appreciation pieces throughout the entire year this year. As officers, we brainstormed to see what made sense for our school and for our PTG. Then, we got to work implementing our new ideas this year.
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Here are a handful of ideas to show volunteer appreciation throughout the year
- Discount for official members – Offer $1.00 – $3.00 (or more!) off of a spirit wear order. Just a little discount to say thanks to your members!
- Free popcorn at events – Keep an updated list of your members & volunteers at your events and offer each family a free bag of popcorn (or other inexpensive snack you are selling). Free food always is appreciated, right?
- More recognition throughout the year – It is the little things that really speak volumes. Consider new ways you can connect with members/volunteers in your PTG through personal e-mail/Facebook messages, face-to-face thank yous, more shout-outs on your social media pages, and handwritten notes of thanks!
- Signage at School – Create a special bulletin board or other highly visible area to creatively display staff, teachers, and families who have joined your PTG.
- Certificates for Teachers/Staff – This is an annual project for my PTG, but it is a good one. Every year we create an official membership certificate for teachers & staff members who join our PTG to hang outside their classroom/office. This is a great way for teachers and staff to proudly display their partnership with the PTG!
Volunteer Appreciation Week
Okay, now that I have steered us all off course a bit, let’s officially get back to Volunteer Appreciation Week. 🙂 Volunteer Appreciation Week falls April 23-29 this year (2017). It seems to move around a bit in April, but generally occurs at some point in April each year. I personally feel it would make our lives easier if it didn’t piggy-back right next to Teacher Appreciation Week, but no one asked me! Haha!
To help you create a little magic for all of your wonderful members & volunteers, I want to share with you some easy and inexpensive ways you can express your gratitude toward them!
Quick & easy ideas to say thank you during Volunteer Appreciation Week
Everyone loves winning something special, why not put together a few inexpensive gift cards (even as low as $5/card) to some local hot spots. Have several drawings throughout the week and announce your winners at school & on social media. More than likely, you could get some gift cards donated by area businesses, if you ask kindly! There might be business owners at your school who would gladly support you, all you have to do is ask!
Or, even easier than that, print out some Amazon.com gift cards which you can print at home or send directly to the winners via email. You don’t even have to leave your home to accomplish this task. Gift cards be purchased in amounts as low as $1.00, see the “Enter Amount” which allows you to purchase the gift card amount that works for you. Did you know that you can also send an e-gift card via text message? Technology astounds me sometimes!
Why not thank your volunteers officially by putting together a lovely “Thank You” certificate with their name added to it!
As your PTG may do, we keep record of our official members and many of our extra volunteers with contact information, among that information is the class/grade their student/s are associated with. If you don’t see these volunteers easily, just slip the certificates in the teacher’s mailbox with a note to be sent home with the student. You won’t have to worry about postage costs or tracking people down on the playground.
If you don’t already participate in a an award program for your volunteers, this might be a great time to start! Our PTG is a part of a larger council, one that encompasses our whole community. The council has a large banquet at the end of the year. Each unit has the opportunity to submit nominations for the council awards. So, in our PTG unit, annually we have an award cycle and members have an opportunity of winning Staff of the Year, Teacher of the Year, and Volunteer of the year. We also have a special award that can be given to a community group or business that supports our PTG unit.
If you already do offer these or similar awards annually, perhaps choosing Volunteer Appreciation Week as a special time to announce/showcase these awards and the winners would be especially appropriate.
Make a Sign
Create pretty sign and invite teachers/staff to sign it, snap some pics, and display it proudly for all to see!
Social Media/email shout-outs
One of the easiest and most effective ways we have found to communicate with our membership and school community is through social media. During Volunteer Appreciation Week, find some time each day to include volunteer/membership appreciation by sharing special graphics, kind messages and more.
A special event
This might take some extra work on your behalf, but it doesn’t have to actually occur during Volunteer Appreciation Week, unless you’d like it to.
Here are some low-cost ideas: Movie Party with free popcorn for volunteers, PTG member/volunteer family bowling party or skating party with special reduced group rates. You could plan a special group outing at any of the fun party places in your community.
How about a fundraiser night at a local restaurant that offers fundraising opportunities, Chuck E. Cheese would be a great one to plan at this time! It is fun for families AND you can make money too!
Find the right fit!
Of course, these are just a few ideas and it is important to keep in mind that what might work well for one PTG/school isn’t the best fit for another.
Some schools frown upon events that exclude the general school population. If that would be a conflict for your PTG, you wouldn’t necessarily have to exclude anyone, but could offer a reduced rate for volunteers/members or name the event “Volunteer/Membership Appreciation.” If anyone else happened to show up, that would be completely fine, right? Maybe this would be a great opportunity to welcome a family/parent into your PTG and invite them to get involved! Don’t forget to have sign-up sheets at the event for upcoming projects/committees too!
Take it slow & easy
While these are all great ideas in theory, keep in mind is that you SHOULD NOT feel obligated to do all of this. Just focus on what your PTG can easily do. You are a volunteer, too, after-all and approaching Volunteer Appreciation should be done in a way that does not deplete your energy and emotional tank! We all have our limits. If Volunteer Appreciation is new for your PTG, start out small. And, don’t forget to include yourself and your officers of the board when it comes time to do all of this appreciation. Where would your PTG be without any of you?
Thanks to you!
I would like to do something special for you! To help you out, I have included various printables for you to use for free, in PDF files!
If you use any of these images on your Facebook page, please tag my page. Thanks!!
Get in touch
Is Volunteer Appreciation something your PTG regularly celebrates? Maybe you are a part of a super amazing PTG that runs like a well-oiled machine!? If so, I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comment section below. Please share with us what special projects you do with your PTG for the volunteers in your life! It is so much fun to be able to work with you all to create stronger Parent Teacher Groups!