With all the changes due to COVID-19 this year, church volunteers have had to adapt right along with church staff. Some have learned how to host an online service while others have joined the new disinfecting team to clean between in-person services. After several months of being flexible and “making it happen,” now is a great time to express your appreciation.

Showing you value volunteers accomplishes a couple of things. One, it encourages and motivates current volunteers. When they know someone sees their efforts and that their work is making a difference, they’re more likely to stay engaged and continue serving. Secondly, showing your appreciation helps those who aren’t serving recognize how much the church needs volunteers and how serving can be a great experience.

Fortunately, you don’t need a big budget to show volunteers how much their efforts mean to the church. Here are a few simple and inexpensive ways to say, “thank you!”

1. Mail thank-you notes

Especially when meeting in-person can’t happen very often, a thank you card in the mail can be quite meaningful. Take a few minutes each day to write a short note to 3-5 volunteers. If you do that each workday for a month, that’s at least 60 volunteers who’ll receive a little boost to their day.

2. Share how volunteers make ministry happen

Before a service or even as part of the sermon, share a few examples of how volunteers have made an impact at your church. You could point out the new disinfecting team that wipes down all high-touch surfaces between services. Perhaps you could mention the tech-savvy volunteers who ensure online services run smoothly. Thank those volunteer teams and relay how their dedication impacts ministry and the effectiveness of the church.

3. Create a video to highlight volunteers

Shoot a video of volunteers serving on a Sunday morning. Show how they’re welcoming people back to church (socially distanced, of course). Include some behind-the-scenes video of volunteers who set things up before services, keep the live streaming working, etc. Show these highlight videos before a service or as part of an invitation for people to sign up to serve.

4. Share pictures on social media

Do this with permission, of course, but consider posting pictures of volunteers serving on the church’s social media accounts. Include a caption thanking volunteers for going the extra mile and for serving during a pandemic. This publicly recognizes volunteers and shows the church appreciates them. It also allows your church to showcase how you’re handling in-person services these days.

5. Actively listen to volunteers

Volunteers are on the front lines, interacting directly with people as they arrive for a service, helping them navigate how the church operates under COVID-19 considerations, and ensuring guests feel welcome. Ask volunteers for feedback. They may have suggestions for ways to improve, requests for additional training or information, and more.

You can ask a few questions of several volunteers each Sunday or use an online tool such as SurveyMonkey to solicit feedback. As you receive their input and make changes, let volunteers know that you’re implementing changes based on their suggestions. Thank them for their input and make sure they know you listened and are doing something with that information.

Volunteers play a significant role in making services happen each week. A simple thank you can be incredibly encouraging and motivating to a volunteer who wonders if her contributions matter.