Saying Thank You The Old Fashion Way
Once upon a time, when I was a new Executive Director of a new nonprofit, I wanted to express my appreciation to the 15 members of my Board who volunteered endless hours to this organization. As I sought a creative, no cost way to say thank you, I realized that all the time these Board members gave to our nonprofit was time that they could have spent with their families and friends. A light bulb went off: why not do a handwritten thank you note to their spouses?
My mind created many objections: I don’t know most of their spouses…two of the members are single…what could I possibly say to a bank president’s wife…and many more. Yet the idea wouldn’t go away (for me this is a sure sign that I am on to something good) so I wrote and mailed those notes.
I was overwhelmed with the response from Board members at our next meeting. Each one shared their feelings about those notes. The bank president said that no one had ever acknowledged how much time board service takes from his family. A community volunteer said that her husband better supported her community service when his role at home was appreciated. A single board member noted that his note helped him explain to friends why he wasn’t as available as they wanted.
I worked with this Board for several years and every holiday season, some member would ask “Remember the year that Jane sent thank you notes to our families?” It was a small, cost-free token of my appreciation that yielded great benefits.
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