With thankfulness at the forefront this Thanksgiving week, it seems like a good time to think on how NGOs show their thanks. For their efforts and resources, donors, volunteers, and occasionally employees get letters, events, awards, and maybe other kinds of well-deserved appreciation. But what about the members of the board of directors?
Ideas for Board Appreciation
We frequently criticize board members’ performance and call into doubt their dedication, if not to their organizations’ aims, then at least to their responsibilities. While it’s necessary to evaluate board members’ individual and collective performance and encourage continual development, they also deserve our gratitude.
To begin with, they, too, are volunteers who are expected to give of their time, attention, expertise, and resources on a continuous basis. Board members should be losing sleep and working virtually all of the time to represent, champion, and serve their organizations properly if they take their duties as seriously as the (usually) unpaid employment they have.
But how can you thank them in a meaningful way that doesn’t overburden your employees or top management? Simply expressing “thank you” to your biggest funders – the board of directors – is a fantastic start, according to a npENGAGE writer. Appreciation is something that is felt but not communicated in written or spoken words, and it will be missed.
Gifts are another option that isn’t popular with everyone, but may be effective if chosen and given properly. For example, npENGAGE may pay for board members’ travel to the annual board retreat and leave a modest gift in their rooms when they arrive. A thank-you reception, possibly at the CEO’s house, and tailored electronic thank-yous, such as an e-card or a slideshow, are two more alternatives.
Gratitude does not have to be conveyed only in material terms.
Some Suggestions for Board Appreciation
- Common decency
The simplest and most cost-effective approach to thank and respect volunteer board members is to do it for free. You may show your respect and appreciation for their time and efforts by greeting them properly, starting and concluding meetings on time, requesting and honoring their feedback, and so on.
- Recognition from the general public
We all welcome a little recognition for our efforts, so take advantage of the several opportunities to publicly thank a board member. Kudos shared with a group of coworkers or employees may encourage collaboration and loyalty, but failing to recognize board members’ accomplishments on a regular basis might demotivate them and lose you their dedication.
- Take the necessary steps
Board members want to feel that their contributions are valued, so keep a continuous log of their suggestions and put them into action as soon as feasible.
- Continual education
Adults like passing on their expertise and learning new things, so give chances for board members to learn and grow. Encourage individuals to share their knowledge with one another and, where feasible, connect with significant community members outside the organization.
- Allow them to shine
Know your board members and when they’re willing to take the lead, whether on a project, a committee, or a conversation. When they take on conspicuous positions, it will be simpler for them to gain notoriety.
- Pay attention to the executive committee
Protect the board’s power as a whole if you have an executive committee. Members of the board who believe the “serious” job has been completed in advance of a meeting will feel their time has been spent.