When writing the text for a recognition piece it can be difficult coming up with words that are new or fresh. There are only so many words to describe the same emotion or feeling. At times, the “right” words are are not the typical ones you would see on many recognition pieces. The “right” words just might be “your” words. Try writing from the heart. Say it “your way”. It will sound more casual, however, it will sound real. And remember to keep it short. Important words or expressions need to stand out. This can best be done by not getting those words lost among too many words.

There are times when a casual form is not appropriate. A formal sounding text may be desired. Here are some special words for a variety recognition purposes.


Risk, sacrifice, consistency & perseverance, commitment, stick-to-it ness, extraordinary effort, focus, and thorough.

Service Time

Whether a volunteer or a paid employee, service time is about “commitment”. The longer the service time, the greater the commitment of the individual.

Sponsorship & Donation

First, the difference between a “sponsorship” and a “donation” is that a sponsor receives formal recognition at the event and often advertising. A “donor” generally does not donate for a level of advertising or recognition that is traded for up-front. A donor often seeks nothing in return other then the satisfaction of helping. The word “recognition” is often used for a formal tone. Less formal and more casual is a “thank you” or “in appreciation of or for”. For “donations” it is often appropriate to use the word “donation or special donation”. Other words to consider include: commitment, sacrifice, and of course …generosity.


“Sacrifice” is a word that describes what a person makes to order give the organization the time they have volunteered. Time is more precious then money for most people. It is the ultimate contribution. It’s not only time that people give or share, it’s skills, knowledge, experience, leadership, wisdom, and kindness. So think about what your volunteers are giving, what they have given up to serve, and what the beneficiaries are receiving from the individuals. Generosity of self…no matter how important money is to an organization, giving of oneself in time, talent and emotion is the highest level of giving one can make.


There are times when the word “memorialize” is not the feeling you want to convey. In “remembrance” is somewhat less formal than “memorialize”. We have suggested that the recognition is to “celebrate the life and accomplishes” of the individual. A few more words: treasure, honor, remember, and revere. In the case of military, police, fire, etc. “sacrifice” may also be an appropriate word.

Special Days

Include births, birthdays, weddings & anniversaries, graduation, a new job, retirement, and other special anniversaries. Words include commemorate, celebrate, acknowledge, applaud, proud, dedicated.

This is just the beginning. There are lots of great words to describe a sentiment. But remember, the best words are real words that describe how you feel.

Need More Help?

There are several wording tools providing quotes available on the web, just click RESOURCES menu option to find some helpful links. If you need more ideas or assistance, please call us at 951-894-7222. We have other resources and this is what we do every day, so we are full of ideas we are willing to share.