The Wave at Paria Canyon

Thanking Your Volunteers

Volunteers are much more likely to have a positive experience on National Public Lands Day and to return to your site if they feel they were appreciated for their efforts.

The most basic way to show your appreciation is to verbally thank volunteers and to present them with certificates on September 24th. Choose your downloadable volunteer recognition certificate below and print them prior to your event to thank your volunteers!

NPLD volunteers at any federal land agency site will also receive a coupon good for a "fee-free" day at that or any other site run by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the USDA Forest Service during the next year.

Other ways for site managers to show volunteers their appreciation:

  • Give them the bigger picture. On National Public Lands Day, remind volunteers at your event how their individual efforts, whether planting trees, picking up trash, or leading educational activities, are contributing to the overall well-being of their public lands.
  • Distribute thank you take-away items like water bottles, hats, or t-shirts. Committees on fundraising/in-kind partnerships can assist in obtaining premiums or donations.
  • Host a barbecue or picnic as a way of saying "thank you" to everyone at once. As a reminder, solicitations to these type of events should be made at least three months in advance.
  • Showcase volunteer contributions with photos, video, and messaging via email newsletters, social media networks, blog posts, or pages on your website. Images and video are particularly compelling ways to share the impact of volunteers.
  • Send out personalized "thank you" emails to volunteers from a volunteer manager or executive director. Depending on the number of volunteers involved in NPLD, consider writing simple, handwritten cards!
    • Be sure to tell volunteers specifically why or how their service made a difference. For example, "Thank you for your service at this year's National Public Lands Day! With your help, we were able to plant over 15 trees, remove 30 lbs. of trash, and provide maintenance to several of our site's trails. The help of our volunteers allowed us to accomplish in a single day's work what would have taken our limited staff months to complete!"
  • Install a plaque at a visitor center or along a trail attributing the work to volunteers on NPLD.
  • Post an appreciation notice in a local newspaper.
  • Ask volunteers to write articles or other material about their experiences at NPLD.

For more resources about volunteer appreciation: