Informal Recognitions

Little ways to say "Thank You" everyday

Nearly 8,000 Girl Scout volunteers from all over the U.S. participated in the 2007 Volunteer Recognition Survey conducted by GSUSA. The responses were from a broad pool of volunteer positions and lengths of service. Ninety-eight percent were women, and 78 percent were between the ages of 30 and 49. The volunteers who completed the survey were given a long list of appreciation ideas that are currently used in councils nation-wide. They were asked to choose which of those appealed most to them. Being recognized by individual and groups of Girl Scouts was the most appealing form of recognition—nearly 9 out of 10 volunteers found this method appealing. In fact, many volunteers expressed concern and disappointment if not thanked or appreciated by girls and their parents for their time and work.

Recognition on the troop/group and individual level is usually considered informal rewards. Informal rewards are day-to-day ways to say “thank you” to volunteers—they tend to be intangible benefits and heartfelt displays of recognition. These sincere expressions of appreciation are based on specific contributions and are given in a timely manner. Informal recognition is powerful and effective, because volunteers feel valued by a personal touch.

Examples of meaningful informal rewards include:

  • A welcome or thank-you card or letter
  • Skill-building learning opportunities (For example, how to use social media to network)
  • A recommendation for a promotion
  • Sending the volunteer’s supervisor or CEO a letter recognizing her/his contributions
  • Complimenting a volunteer’s work to a supervisor or co-worker (in the volunteer’s presence)
  • Showing interest in a volunteer’s personal life (such as asking about a volunteer’s grandchild or weekend plans)
  • GSBDC Volunteer Spotlight
  • Grade level Volunteer Pins
  • Volunteer Position Bars
  • Certificates of Appreciation

GSBDC Volunteer Spotlight

In 2010 Black Diamond birthed an unofficial Council recognition called The Volunteer Spotlight Award.  This award is coupled with and showcased in each edition of ONE, a publication for all registered Girl Scout adults and girls. 

We encourage you to nominate someone for an upcoming issue! You can find a nomination form below.  Also, feel free to send us photos of volunteers in action.  We are always looking for new photos for our publications…another form of volunteer recognition!

Volunteer Spotlight Nomination Form

Grade Level Volunteer Pins

Volunteer pins for each grade level are available through the Girl Scout shop.  These pins are great resources to welcome and thank volunteers into roles working directly with girls or supporting a grade level behind the scenes. These position pins are not earned, but given in recognition of service supporting Girl Scouts in a variety of ways. 


Volunteer Position Bars

Each position an adult member in Girl Scouting can hold (including staff) has a corresponding position bar. The position colors and corresponding categories are: 

Red   Program Volunteers, Event and Camp Pathway Volunteers
Orange   Series and Travel Pathway Volunteers
Yellow   Troop Pathway Volunteer and Volunteers In Training (girls)
Lime green   Learning Facilitator
Light Blue   Service Team Volunteers, Administrative Volunteers, USAGSO Committee Chairs/Overseas Committee Members and Council Volunteers
Navy Blue   National Board Officers
Beige   Staff members
Silver   Council Board Member, Board Committee Members
Dark gray   Council President
Maroon    National Operational Volunteers (NOVs) and National Board Committee Members
Dark green   National Board of Directors


Certificates of Appreciation

Certificates of appreciation are often highly valued by volunteers and community partners. Groups or individuals who have had a positive impact on your council by volunteering, providing in-kind or financial donations, or providing other support can be presented with a certificate of appreciation customized to indicate the specific service provided. This is a low-cost, yet meaningful way to thank a volunteer or community partner, nurture that relationship, and encourage long-term reengagement.

Certificates of completion can be provided to volunteers after completing various coursework or other requirements for the volunteer role. Volunteers can use these tokens of appreciations to track continued learning throughout their Girl Scout experience and provide proof of continuing education for personal or professional development outside of Girl Scouting.

Below, you will find templates for certificates. You may print these certificates onto certificate paper to present to volunteers in your area. 

Certificate of Appreciation

Certificate of Completion