The First People Non-Profit Leaders Should Thank

You are crazy busy with the end of the year:  The annual appeal is about to go out or maybe just went out.  Your finance person is figuring your year-end or mid-year projections.  Your staff is trying to conduct business with two holiday shortened months.  It goes on and on.

But this is also a time to acknowledge the individuals who are valuable to you and your organization.  Where do you start?  Hopefully you are having some sort of employee holiday event.  Anything from a fancy dinner to a potluck in the conference room.  This is a chance for your team to gather and have a little social time.  Don’t ever discount the value of your employees coming together.  Consider writing a note to each person on your staff (if you have a smaller staff).  For larger organizations, maybe you can bring in trays of goodies or coffee spread one day with a sign expressing your appreciation.

The important thing is to use your imagination and be present when everyone gathers.  Take a moment to express your appreciation for a year of hard work.

But…the first round of thanks should go to your board members.  Unlike employees, non-profit board members do not receive financial compensation for the time and talent (and maybe even treasure) they bring to you.  Most board members make themselves available for meetings and outreach outside of business hours.  This is time away from their families.  Why would you not want to thank them for this.

I invite you to be creative here as well.  Write a personal note mentioning a specific action each person did for your organization.  Maybe it was only making it to the meetings…but why not thank them anyway?  Include a short, personal story about a difference your organization (vis a vis their leadership) made in the world?   Of course this is more work for you.  Don’t hesitate to delegate the story writing to your senior staff or volunteers.  Ask them to write a paragraph about why they are involved.  

Holiday cards are affordable and readily available.  If you have some outreach funds available, create a calendar using images from your organization featuring a fact or quote for each month.  

Still too crunched for time?  Start off the year in January with a staff meeting that has something special on which to nosh.  You can easily transfer this idea to celebrating your board members as well.  Send out your “2017 New Year Wishes” for them and your organization.