Gracias! Dankeschon! In any language, these ideas
will help you express your gratitude to volunteers'
"Thanks" is such a simple word, and it comes in many forms -- some
quick and easy, others more time-consuming and crazy. You'll never
run out of thank yous with almost 100 ways to say it.
1. Write three to five quick thank you notes each week.
2. Hand out mixed bags of Hershey's Hugs® and Kisses®.
3. Send a postcard made of foam with a special Scripture verse
4. Plan a team retreat for encouragement and spiritual
5. Write a note in bright colors on a blank puzzle, break it
apart, and send the pieces.
6. Give inexpensive salt shakers with Matthew 5:13a printed on
7. Give a video rental coupon and a bag of microwave
8. Give a 100 Grand® candy bar with this note: "You're worth 100
Grand to us!"
9. Give a long-stemmed chocolate rose.
10. At your next meeting, surprise volunteers with party
decorations. Then celebrate!
11. Feature a teacher each month in your church bulletin,
newsletter, or worship folder.
12. Send a "cookie gram"-a giant cookie with "thanks" iced on
13. Make button pins for all your volunteers: "KIDS LOVE
14. Place classroom supplies such as stickers, stamps, and stamp
pads inside a basket and wrap it in colorful cellophane.
15. Personalize Christmas tree ornaments with names and a
meaningful Scripture reference.
16. Allow children to plan a party for volunteers on a Sunday
17. Take slide pictures and/or make videos during the year for a
Volunteer Appreciation Sunday.
18. Print your children's ministry's logo on coffee mugs. To
each one, attach this note: "You add an extra measure of
19. Set up a Sunday Siesta Section in a quiet room, stocked with
flavored coffees and teas, bagels or muffins, and inspirational
20. Give T-shirts with your ministry logo.
21. Give a small bouquet of flowers.
22. Leave a plate of homemade cookies in each classroom.
23. Volunteer to take leftover "gift with purchase merchandise"
off a department store's hands to use as thank you gifts.
24. Give small copies of encouraging stories or phrases from
such authors as Max Lucado, Florence Littauer, or Oswald
25. Design "coupon books" for volunteers, personalized with
things you'll do for them, such as "two hours of child care."
26. Design a perpetual calendar with 365 of your favorite verses
27. Use paint pens to inscribe each volunteer's name on a tea
28. Create a laminated Bible bookmark with a Scripture
29. Make "Warm Fuzzies"-small, colorful pom-pom balls with
wiggle eyes and paper feet. Place a "Warm Fuzzy" on each attendance
30. Use paint pens to write on heart key chains: "We Love
31. Have an advertising agency put your logo and theme verse on
water bottles. Attach this note: "Thanks for running with our kids'
32. Find a prayer partner for each volunteer. Send this card:
"Pray-er's name is praying just for you and Jesus' kids!"
33. Give holiday pens or pencils on a Sunday morning near a
34. Put a birthday hat, party blower, and streamer at each chair
for a meeting. Serve birthday cake and celebrate everyone's
35. Use bright colored paper and tablet adhesive to make a
computer-generated notepad for each volunteer.
36. On a paddle ball racket, write: "Have fun after a great
7. Give lapel pins that say thanks-a cross, a "Jesus" fish, an
angel, or a "#1 Teacher" pin.
38. Leave gold-wrapped chocolate coins or Hershey's Kisses® with
this note: "Your work with children is more precious than gold.
39. Fill plastic red apple containers with jelly bellies or
sugarless candies. Give with this note: "You're the apple of God's
40. Thank all volunteers with an children-hosted "After-Holidays
Open House." Serve appetizers and festive punch or hot apple
41. Surprise a volunteer with a balloon bouquet.
42. Give each volunteer a gift certificate for a treat from
Baskin-Robbins or TCBY.
43. Give "World's Greatest Sunday School Teacher" pens or
44. Reserve a special parking spot for the "Teacher of the
45. Give canvas tote bags imprinted with your logo, church name,
and a special Bible verse.
46. Have a "Root Beer Float Party" with kids as the hosts.
47. Organize a car wash for volunteers' cars. Have kids do all
the work for free.
48. Create a shadow box area in a visible area. Put up a
volunteer's picture and a short write-up. Tie a Mylar balloon of
"Thanks" beside the box.
49. Have children complete "You're special to me because…"
slips. Then present the slips to teachers.
50. Surprise each volunteer with a gift subscription to
Children's Ministry Magazine.
51. On parchment paper, personalize a "Letter from Jesus."
52. Take class pictures. Frame them and have kids sign each
53. Use gold fabric puff paint to put each person's name on a
funny hat. Have volunteers wear their hats during an entire
54. Send out a "Volunteer Gram" each week with news and
announcements. Include a big thank you to individual volunteers in
55. Develop a "Homeroom Parent" program to help teachers with
tasks such as attendance, follow-up, encouragement, and snack
56. Provide a place and time for prayer with volunteers before
the hectic morning begins.
57. Print a poem, cartoon, or encouraging quote on colorful
paper for each volunteer.
58. Plant a spring bulb in a clay pot. Use raffia to tie on this
card: "Praise God that you're blooming where He planted you!"
59. Give a bottle of blowing bubbles with this: "Jesus' love
bubbles over in you!"
60. Send volunteers an "E-mail Greeting Card!"
61. Get a massage therapist or nurse to give back rubs at a
62. Include your volunteers' top interests for speakers,
meetings, or educational needs in training meetings.
63. Make a mural with candid shots of teachers and children.
64. Have each child decorate a quilt square. Then have the
squares sewn together for the children's teacher.
65. Give a new book of holiday crafts, inspirational stories,
picture books, or activity books.
66. Use the Internet to send a bouquet of flowers.
67. Give a gift certificate for dinner out.
68. Give your teachers the summer off with a big "Thanks, see
you next fall!"
69. Make a "Certificate of Appreciation" for each volunteer.
70. Give a small rubber ball with this note: "Our kids are
having a ball with you!"
71. Include children's positive comments about volunteers in
your church newsletter.
72. Enlist support teams to help teachers with baking, crafts,
73. Decorate a plastic light switch plate with Micah 7:9.
74. Give a pack of gum with this note: "Thanks for sticking with
75. Give a four-pack of light bulbs with this note: "You're the
light of the world!"
76. Have your pastor and governing board commission new
volunteers with prayer.
77. Send a thank you letter to volunteers' spouses.
78. In a children's ministry celebration service, invite the
congregation to show appreciation for volunteers.
79. Place a pretty bow on a pack of recipe cards, including one
of your favorite recipes. Attach this note: "You have the
ingredients of a great teacher!"
80. Check each classroom for basics such as crayons, felt
markers, paper, Bibles, stapler, and scissors.
81. Pay for volunteers to attend workshops that benefit their
82. Have parents decorate classroom doors.
83. Feature a different children's ministry program on a
bulletin board in the adult education area.
84. Pray for a different volunteer each day. Send a card telling
the volunteer you prayed for him or her that day.
85. Host a volunteers' barbecue with special music and great
86. Have a Volunteers' Hallelujah Hop with kids singing
Christian versions of '50s music, Hula Hoop contests, and great
87. Have a Volunteer Hallelujah Luau with an island-themed video
of kids celebrating volunteers.
88. Give a banana with this message: "Thanks bunches! We go
bananas for your help!"
89. Give great door prizes at meetings and celebrations.
90. Make random phone calls just to say thanks.
91. Hang vinyl banners that say, "Thanks, children's ministry
92. At Christmas, give a festive mug with a candy cane and a
packet of cocoa inside.
93. Create a personalized Scripture card for each person with a
positive verse that reminds you of him or her.
94. Copy your children's ministry mission statement on computer
95. Give a package of M&M's® with this note: "Thanks for
sharing God's Majesty & Might with our children!"
96. Hold a "Cookie Exchange" where each parent bakes two dozen
goodies. Gift wrap plates of varied goodies and have parents
deliver the treats to volunteers' homes.
97. Celebrate with a royal "Ambassador's Dinner" since
volunteers are ambassadors for Christ.
98. Have all your volunteers stand in a church service as
someone sings a special song such as "Thank You!" by Ray Boltz or
"Who Is Gonna Tell The Child?" by Acapella.
Mary Van Aalsburg is a children's minister in Fresno,