Volunteers provide valuable services for nonprofit agencies, whether they're performing office work, doing public relations or serving on a committee. Many agencies would not be able to function without the work of their volunteers. A volunteer appreciation luncheon highlights how much these dedicated helpers are valued. Games can bring fun and frivolity to such an event.
A table scavenger hunt, with each luncheon table competing as a team, can be an effective icebreaker at an event where many of the honored guests may not know one another. The list, which volunteers fulfill with items found only in their pockets and purses, should include 40-50 small items that are reasonably likely to be carried by people. Examples could include a nail clipper, felt-tip marker, stamp, foreign coin, calculator, candy bar, flash drive, bandage, paper clip and paperback novel. Give a small prize to each member of the winning table.
For a short game, create a crossword or word search puzzle (by hand or using an online or offline puzzle generator) featuring volunteers' names as well as words having to do with volunteering and the work the volunteers do. Have each table work on the puzzle cooperatively, with one person in charge of the pen or pencil, until one table finishes the puzzle. Give a prize to each of the volunteers at the winning table.
Gift Wrap a Volunteer
For a nonprofit agency, volunteers are like gifts. As part of honoring volunteers for their service, split them up into groups of five or six people and have the group "gift-wrap" one member. Provide each group with a roll of brightly colored wrapping paper, several long strips of ribbon, a roll of tape, a stapler and some bows. Allow five minutes for the wrapping and have the agency director pick the best and/or funniest result.
Carnival games don't have to be just for kids. A mini carnival for volunteers can bring fun and frivolity to a volunteer appreciation luncheon as grownups play games typically played by children. Set up half a dozen booths with games such as a duck pond, ring toss, balloon pop, fish pond and other activities for which supplies are easily accessible in a variety store, party shop or dollar store. Give small prizes of candy, trinkets and novelties.
Laurie Swenson is a longtime Minnesota journalist. She was a reporter/copy editor for the "Bemidji Pioneer" from 2004-2013 and the sports editor of the "Crookston (Minn.) Daily Time"s from 1992-2003. She has won several Minnesota Newspaper Association awards, including first place for an arts and entertainment article in 2012.