The vast majority of volunteers do so to help out and give back, not to receive recognition. Still, it is nice to show appreciation for their contribution by recognising their efforts from time to time. If you are recognising a large group of volunteers there are a number of things you can do for a volunteer appreciation event.
Annual Volunteer Banquet
Organising an annual volunteer banquet is a good way to show appreciation to everyone who has contributed to your organisation. Invite everyone who volunteered during the last year, regardless if they worked on similar projects. The banquet doesn't have to be a formal dinner hosted in a ballroom. A pot luck in a school cafeteria can be just as effective. Highlight the success stories of the year and some of the most memorable moments.
Volunteer Awards Ceremony
An awards ceremony is a good event for recognising the individual contributions from each volunteer. If the organisation's budget allows for it, honour volunteers with personalised plaques or certificates. You can hand out awards for varies levels of service hour contributions or create personalised awards. In addition to awards such as "Volunteer of the Year" or "Most Dedicated" you can also create fun awards like "Best Dressed Volunteer" or "Best Joke Teller." If the budget does not allow for plaques or certificates you can recognise the contributions in a speech, highlighting each volunteer by name.
Volunteer Group Outing
As a reward for their service your organisation, you can arrange for a group outing. Attending a movie or hosting a bowling night are two basic group outings. Tickets to a sporting event, concert or local attraction are other options. The majority of local attractions will offer discounts when purchasing group tickets, while some may even donate unused tickets to your organisation. Group outings should be suitable for families and not require volunteers to incur additional expenses.
Project Completion Picnic
A relatively low cost event to celebrate the completion of a project and recognise the contributions of the volunteers is to host a picnic or barbecue upon completion. This is an event for all contributors to gather and celebrate the organisation's accomplishments. You can hand out awards for each volunteer's contribution or simply thank them personally.