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Volunteer Appreciation on a Budget

I should probably clarify that I don’t normally go dumpster diving.

dumpsterdivingIt was simply a matter of timing – I drove by a local Steak-n-Shake that was closing and saw employees tossing out cases of unused sundae glasses. I scored three dozen, just like that.

Now I just had to figure out what to do with them.

Suddenly I remembered that we were searching for ways to honor our volunteers. Our budget was tight, and I’d been praying for wisdom on how to defy the situation with something creative.

Apparently I now had 36 opportunities to do just that.

Plato famously said that “Necessity is the mother of invention.” In other words, having to figure something out inspires a level of creativity that you wouldn’t have otherwise aspired to.

If you’ve ever been on a budget (or not had one at all) within your church, you can either make that your excuse or make that your catalyst.

Our core leaders got together and brainstormed who we’d invite to a local pizza place where we could use a combination of coupons and our own donated money to feed everyone. I’d say a few words after we fed them, and then everyone would get a sundae glass filled with “something” and an attached card.

Here’s what we came up with (feel free to steal this):

  • SG-IceCreamCoffee grounds: “You constantly provide the grounds for people to savor the Savior.”
  • Push pins: “God uses you to hold up the things that matter for everyone to see.
  • Whoppers: “Thanks for your continual Whopper ideas!”
  • Small scented candles: “When people are around you they smell the aroma of Christ.”
  • Mini Oreos: “You are some of the sweet stuff inside the Church”
  • Hershey hugs: “People know you as one of the most loving people to be around.”
  • Crayons: “Your life brings out the colors of God’s Kingdom”
  • Lifesavers: “You’re a real lifesaver”
  • Pens: “You will never know until heaven how many new names are written in the Book of Life because of you”
  • Peanuts: “You have a way of helping bring others out of their shell”
  • Rubber bands: “We couldn’t survive without the way you hold things together”
  • Golf tees: “You make it possible for others to have a ball!”
  • Superballs: “You help others soar to new heights with God.”
  • Small portions of towels: “Thanks for being the kind of servant that Jesus loves!
  • Tic-tacs: “You’re like a fresh breath of air to the church!”
  • Ziploc bags: “You keep the word of God fresh!”
  • Small tools: “You’re such a jack of all trades!”
  • Play money: “Your contribution to the kingdom is priceless!”
  • Tooth brush, paste, etc: “You’re famous for bringing out the smile in others.”
  • Glue sticks or superglue: “You help create bonds to Jesus that others can’t shake.”
  • Mini light bulbs: “You light the way – thanks for your enthusiasm!”
  • Permanent markers: “You’ve made a lasting mark on so many lives!”
  • Cotton balls: “Your tender care has brought healing to many.”
  • Andes Mints: “Your service is worth a mint to the Lord!”
  • Pennies: “Everything you do is like pennies from heaven.”
  • Safety pins: “You keep things safe and are always there in a pinch.”
  • Raisins: “Thanks for raisin’ up a new generation of Christians!”
  • Highlighters: “You highlight the truth of God for all to see!”
  • Band-aids: “Your willingness to assist with holes has kept things alive.”
  • Balloons: “You have helped the ministry of God expand and grow”
  • Propel packets: “You regularly propel people forward to Jesus!”
  • Lucky Charm cereal: “We’re lucky to have you!”
  • Trix cereal: “You’re the kind of person made just for kids!”
  • Guitar picks: “You bring out the music in others”
  • Mini Three Musketeers: “You help unite the team so that everything we do is all for One!”
  • Seeds: “You continually plant life in darkened places.”

 Yes, some of those are absolutely cheesy.

And yes, everyone absolutely loved it.

A couple of questions for you:

  • What’s been a great/cheap idea that you pulled off to appreciate others who serve?
  • In what ways does your budget (or lack thereof) end up an excuse or a catalyst?

4 thoughts on “Volunteer Appreciation on a Budget

  1. Avatar
    Pam Bryosn

    A guest soap and a $1 scrubbie puff with a tag that said, “soapin you’d be my valentine” and I thanked each of them for their volunteer efforts.

  2. Avatar
    Joshua Smith

    Found off of Pinterest. At Christmas I gave volunteers a pair of gloves with “Thanks for giving a HAND to our Student Ministry.”

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Volunteer Appreciation on a Budget

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