Volunteering is a work of heart, and we know Girl Scouting couldn’t happen without our amazing volunteers! It’s important for volunteers to feel appreciated and know their time and hard work are valued and impactful, and we hope that during National Volunteer Month in April and all year round, you’ll celebrate your troop helpers, leaders, service unit team, and fellow volunteers.
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The good news: recognizing volunteers is easy and doesn’t have to take a lot of time! Looking for new and fun ways to say thank you? We’ve got you covered with these six easy ways to thank your volunteers!
Give Them a Girl Scout Shout-Out
Let the world know how awesome your volunteer is with a social media shout-out on your personal Facebook or Twitter, troop Facebook page, or service unit communications group. Or go old-school and give them a shout-out in person at a troop or service unit meeting to recognize them for leading a fun or creative troop activity that all the girls loved, running a successful event, or taking on a new service unit role. To spread the word even further, consider submitting your thank-you in a newsletter for the volunteer’s community, school, work, or club. And don’t forget to share their story with us for a chance to have your favorite volunteer featured on our blog, social networks, or other council-wide communications!
Gift Them with a Token of Appreciation
Everyone loves to get something special, and small, homemade gifts can be especially meaningful. Our GSNorCal Pinterest board has lots of easy gift ideas, printable templates, and ways to get punny like, “You’re all important pieces of our team” with Reese’s Pieces, “I appreciate you a HOLE bunch” with donut holes, “Thanks for always going the EXTRA mile” with gum, or “Thanks a LATTE” with their favorite coffee. Girls also can get in on the fun by making their leader’s favorite snack or sweet treat and bringing it to a meeting to share, or a framed picture of the troop is always a meaningful gift for leaders.
Pro Tip—If crafting isn’t your jam, check out our online retail shop for gifts any Girl Scout volunteer would love. Consider our new adult achievement patches to recognize them for their role. From Troop Leader to Outdoor Expert, Cookie Parent, STEM Volunteer, and beyond, these patches can be proudly worn on the adult uniform or everyday accessories like tote bags. Or one of our fun patches like I Love My Leader, Man Enough to be a Girl Scout, or Cookie Chaos Coordinator might be the perfect fit to make them feel special.
Remind Your Volunteers Why They’re Awesome
Volunteers want to know they’ve made an impact, so tell them why you think they’re special! Girls can make a list or card to share why they love their leader, create a video describing their favorite things about their leader, put together a scrapbook with pictures of their favorite Girl Scout activities, or write a poem and read it at a troop meeting. Parents can share their stories too. When your girl comes home excited about a troop activity or tells a great Girl Scout story, send a quick e-mail to your leader to share your girl’s excitement—she’ll appreciate hearing she’s made a difference! You also can check out our certificate templates like Outstanding Troop Driver, Rookie of the Year, and Outdoor Enthusiast, which are a great way for service units and leaders to recognize volunteers for their specific roles and accomplishments.
Surprises are a fun way to show volunteers you don’t need a special occasion just to say, “thank you!” Girls or service units can surprise leaders with an “Awesome Leader Lives Here” sign placed on their front lawn to show the community how valued this fabulous volunteer is. Another fun surprise: send flowers to volunteers at home, or girls can pick flowers from their yard for their leader and bring them to a troop meeting. Troop parents also can arrange for girls to create, sign, and send birthday or holiday greetings to their leaders as a fun surprise throughout the year (hint: service units can do this too!).
Show Them Some Love at a Girl Scout Meeting
Meetings are a great place to recognize volunteers, especially when they’re among peers, friends, or family who can cheer them on. At a service unit meeting, make sure everyone is recognized by having leaders divide into pairs to talk about exciting things they’ve done and accomplished this year; then each person should come up with a creative (informal) award name (like Girl Scout Song Mistress, Knot Tying Champion, or Most Creative Field Trip Planner) and share out with the group. Or share a poem to show volunteers their impact. Bringing treats to a troop, parent, or service unit meeting is also always a crowd pleaser and a thoughtful way make attendees feel appreciated. Try a simple basket of Mounds candy bars to show “Mounds of Appreciation for all you do” or even a full waffle bar to let volunteers know they’re appreciated “a waffle lot”.
Say thank you—in person or in writing!
Sometimes the best way to let someone know you appreciate them is simply to say, “thank you”. Keep it simple and give your volunteers a verbal thanks (or even go for a high five!) while they’re volunteering, when they take on a new role in your troop or service unit, after they did something special that your girl(s) appreciated, or on a national or Girl Scout holiday. (You don’t have to wait until the end of the year to say thank you!) Expressing your appreciation with a thank-you card is another easy way to make volunteers feel good about helping out. Check out our fun card templates or use our GSNorCal eCard generator to send your favorite volunteers a fist bump, high five, or hug.
Whether you throw your volunteers a huge party or just send them a quiet thank you, they’ll know how much you appreciate all they bring to the Girl Scout table: mentorship, time, support, and their unique skills and perspective. Each one of these things changes a girl’s life for the better, and volunteers should be proud of all the lives they touch. So from GSNorCal, thank you!
What to do next:
- Celebrate National Volunteer Month and Leader Appreciation Day in April by thanking your favorite volunteers
- Nominate a volunteer for a service unit, council, or national award this spring for a more formal way to recognize them
- Visit the Volunteer Appreciation page on our website to find more recognition information and ideas
- For a related read, check out 5 Meaningful Ways to Show Your Girl Scout Volunteers Some Love and 7 Ways to Thank Troop Parents for their Involvement
Amy Burke—Amy Burke is the Volunteer Recognition Manager at Girl Scouts of Northern California and loves everything recognition-related. She is a former Gold Award Girl Scout and recently celebrated 21 years as a Girl Scout. Most importantly, she loves crafting (and any excuse to use Pinterest) and attributes her joy in glitter, scrapbook paper, and glue guns to her younger Girl Scout days.
Really helpful article! Thanks!
Great ideas! In spite of the coronavirus limitations, we can thank our leaders for their interest, time, and patience during the year. And urge them to keep in touch with their girls.
Definitely, Helen! Many of our volunteers are going above and beyond right now to continue encouraging their Girl Scouts. Any time is a great time to show some volunteer love, but now more than ever <3