Spreading Love to Volunteers on Valentine’s Day

For the past two days I’ve had the pleasure of attending a planning meeting for the ASAE & The Center’s Component Relation’s Section Council. This year I’m finishing up my tenure by serving as past chair. To mark this, the current chair gave me this wonderful gift. 

Jamie Desimone knows that I love jewelry (I’ve purchased of few of her wonderful creations – see more on herwebsite) and that I’m not one with “traditional taste.” This gift is certainly a reflection of me. And that’s what makes the perfect volunteer thank you gift.

Looking at the other side of recognition, KiKi L’Italien recently asked the Component Relations Listserve (if you’re an ASAE member here’s a link to the conversation) for the “worst ways to reward and recognize volunteers.” Top on that list has to be this one fromCynthia D’Amour:

After the party was over, one of the class presidents came up to me with a bouquet of dead and broken tea roses picked up from the local Meijer’s grocery store. She said with sincerity, “We bought you these to thank you for your leadership. Forgot to mention it earlier. Hope you enjoyed it.” …[the] flowers [were still] in their plastic wrap and $4.99 price tag still on them. Quite a contrast to the bouquets of beautiful long stem roses fresh from the florist that I had as a centerpiece at every table.

The critical difference between my gift and this “worst” example? One is personal, the other is, well, not.

I’d like to leave you with three other good examples so we end on a good note.


  • Alaa El Ghatit offered this idea on Energizea Memory Keepsake CD. Using LifeOnRecord Events, an organization invites fellow volunteers – or staff – to call in on a toll-free number with stories of their favorite moments or memories of time spent with the individual or well-wishes. All the recordings are compiled onto a keepsake CD.
  • On another listserve, a volunteer raved about just receiving a holiday card with a CD inside of Christmas songs.
  • And here’s a twist on the gift idea, give helpful tips like this one for assuring you get the right tax donations for volunteer activity.

For more ideas, read my previous posting or check out the Volunteerspot blog. And add your best – or worst – examples here!