What a meaningful “thank you” for volunteers looks like

I love meaningful thank yous for remote volunteers, people who assist an organization but may never get to see the impact of their work firsthand, in-person. Within this blog is a great example of such a meaningful thank you for remote volunteers:

Pies for Peace is ending its long-running bake sale fundraiser for Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon. After 12 years, Pies for Peace volunteers have decided to retire from their fundraising baking. They have been a wonderful fixture at the Forest Grove Farmers Market by Adelante Mujeres, just a few blocks from where I live.

Pies for Peace was never a formal entity: no 501c3 or even a website. The volunteers would just bring the cash from their pie sales directly to Mercy Corps’ Portland office. During its 12-year run, Pies for Peace raised between $40,000 and $60,000 for Mercy Corps (depends on if you count matching-grants). The volunteers also made smaller donations to other groups, but by far, most of the pie-money went to Mercy Corps activities in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

One of Mercy Corps projects was providing food baskets for displaced populations in Iraq. One of the Pies for Peace volunteers said in this article in the Oregonian:

There was even a little video that [Mercy Corps] showed us of a group of young Iraqis. Because I’m the one who signs the checks, they said ‘thank you, Carol’ from across the seas, and I will never, ever forget that.

Imagine that thank you for the volunteers! Not just a generic thank you, but one that is specific to the group in little Forest Grove, Oregon, baking pies to benefit women in Iraq, one that makes a group of women in one city feel connected to a group of women on the other side of the globe.

If you are an organization engaging with remote volunteers, whether they are baking pies or engaged in virtual volunteering, consider how you could use video to make a simple, personal thank you for a particular volunteer or group of volunteers. It’s an incredible motivator!



Both Mercy Corps and Pies for Peace would love for a new volunteer, or group of volunteers, to continue making pies, if any of my neighbors are interested…

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