For any organization to maintain a healthy connection with their donors, board, and team - the leadership must master the art of saying 'thank you'.
It is important for non-profit leaders to not only commit to clearly communicating the mission of organization but also to consistently communicate gratitude to the people who give their time, money, and energy to accomplishing the mission. When an organization possesses a strong DNA of appreciation, there is s strong foundation for passion, loyalty, unity and perseverance to be built into the culture.
There are three things to keep in mind when mastering the art of saying 'thank-you'.
1) BE Consistent.
Non-profit leaders need to commit to consistently showing their appreciation to their staff, volunteers, board, and donors. The rule of thumb is that you can never saying 'thank you' too much. Leaders can help themselves lead from a position of gratitude by literally scheduling periodic times when they communicate their personal appreciation, such as : staff lunches, personal phone calls to board members, hand written cards to volunteers, and opportunities for donors get an inside peek into the outcomes of the mission. It is important that NFP leaders understand that saying "thank-you" will take up 'time' but the benefits will be well worth the time spent.
2) CHOOSE to Customize.
The art of saying thank-you requires the recognition that a one-size 'thank-you' will not fit all. Leaders should spend TIME to think of the most appropriate and effective way to say thank you to the different groups of people that help carry out the mission. A general email to the board, donors, volunteers, and staff can come across as insincere. When leaders the take time to customize their 'thank-you' it will not go unnoticed. The more personal attention given to the appreciation, the greater its effect.
3) GET Creative.
Creative appreciation is appreciated! When leaders go beyond the standard way of saying 'thank-you', they communicate "value" to people they are extending gratitude towards. For example: holding a fun award ceremony for volunteers is a creative way of saying thanks that goes beyond the standard 'thank you note'. It not only creates an opportunity for volunteers to experience fun together but it gives a sense of unity in which, "we are all in this together". The best way for a leader to become more creative in saying 'thank you' is to invite their creative team members to help them in this endeavorer. Finding new and fun ways to communicate gratitude can become a team effort which will further strengthen the organization's culture of appreciation!
When people are left un-thanked and unrecognized for how they give - they will eventually burn out or lose their passion for the mission. No matter how busy things get or challenging, leaders should make it a priority to master the art of saying thank-you. Where gratitude is sown, passion is reaped.
Always your friend,