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Top Ten Ways to Express Volunteer Appreciation in the Digital Age
By: Sue Brage

We live in a digital age…and our efforts to reward and value our volunteers need to keep up with the times. Using technology or digital tools to express volunteer appreciation doesn't have to eliminate the personal touch. In fact, there are many innovative tools to create meaningful and memorable tokens of your appreciation.

Here are the Top Ten ways to express volunteer appreciation in the digital age.

10. Broadcast Text Messaging
Collect your volunteers' cell phone numbers. Compose a message. Enlist a broadcast messaging service and easily send a message to all of your volunteers at the same time.

9. Flip Cams
Use a flip cam to record interviews with your volunteers—or better yet, catch them in action!

8. Online Photo Books
Put together an online photo book commemorating big events. Try Shutterfly or, for Mac users, iPhoto. For anywhere from $3.99 to $19.99, you can purchase a tangible reminder of the contributions your volunteers make and the lives you are impacting. You can even share these online.

7. YouTube Videos
Create wrap-up videos of special events and highlight your volunteers. Everyone loves seeing themselves on TV. Plus, it adds a spark of fun and excitement, which makes other people want to join the fun. Share these on YouTube (or Vimeo or BlipTV). Promote them within your congregation and through social media.

6. Facebook
Write on your volunteers' walls thanking them for their efforts. Post photos from your events and be sure to "tag" your volunteers so their friends will see them. You can also encourage others to affirm your volunteers in the comments section. (Example: "Here's Leah rocking our precious babies in the nursery. What would we do without her?")

5. PowerPoint
Create a PowerPoint presentation to show for your next meeting or service. Title it Top Ten Things We Love About Our Volunteers or 10 Ways Our Volunteers Make A Difference. Include photos from a recent event or candid photos of your volunteers.

4.  Digital Photo Frame
Create a digital photo frame with pictures of your volunteers, ministries, events, and outreach activities. Place the frame in a prominent place in your church office or lobby. Be sure to update the photos throughout the year.

3. E-cards
Send a fun e-card to your team before an event. Tell them how much you appreciate their service and are looking forward to serving alongside them. Smilebox, American Greetings, and Dayspring have nice selections.

2. Blog
Feature a "Volunteer of the Week" by having a volunteer contribute a personal nugget or story, or a "Ministry of the Month" by sharing group photos or stats related to that ministry.

1. Email
The most obvious, accessible, and convenient way to use technology to appreciate volunteers is via email. Email can be considered impersonal, so please make yours personal and sincere. If you send to more than one recipient at once, be sure to offer "shout-outs" to each volunteer by name, team or department, and their contributions to your year, event, or outreach.

For more ideas on volunteer appreciation, download your free report from the church leadership experts at Church Volunteer Central: The Ultimate Resource for Volunteer Appreciation: Gift Ideas, Volunteer Recognition, and Encouragement in Christian Volunteer Programs, www.churchvolunteerdaily.com/freemiums/the-ultimate-resource-for-volunteer-appreciation-gift-ideas-volunteer-recognition-and-encouragement-in-christian-volunteer-programs.

Sue Brage is the publisher and editor for ChurchVolunteerDaily.com, an outreach of Group Publishing's Church Volunteer Central®, the association for church and volunteer leaders. Church Volunteer Central Members can enjoy a FREE 45-day-trial of SimplyTXT, www.churchvolunteercentral.com/Texting.asp.

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