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Can You Ever Hear “Thank You” Enough?

Dianna Gould, SPHR, CAE  11/6/2012
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Volunteer leaders decide to get involved on committees and chapter and state council boards for a variety of reasons.  What I have heard many times is they join to get some recognition and appreciation for the work they do because they are not getting it in their paid work environment.

As the State Council Director, Chapter President or Committee Chair, you have many volunteer leaders that give their time and energy (as you do) to the boards and committees they serve on.  Don’t forget about the importance of saying “thanks” and providing personal recognition as well. Below are a couple of ideas on acknowledging those dedicated volunteers for their contribution:

$ - Little to no cost

  • Buy a box of “Kudo” snack bars, wrap a colorful ribbon around them and at each meeting acknowledge a specific volunteer for something they have accomplished.  You can get your other board members involved by asking them to nominate a fellow board member for a “Kudos” bar and why they are nominating them.  There isn’t much more satisfying them being nominated by a peer for something special that they think you have done.
  • Send a thank you note to the volunteer leader’s boss thanking the company for allowing the individual to participate and contribute to the success of the chapter/committee/state council.  Be sure to let the boss know that the individual is learning special leadership, organizational, delegation skills as well as networking with professionals that can provide community/industry specific information that is invaluable.
  • Write a personal thank you note to each board member welcoming them to the board and thanking them for volunteering for the important role they have taken on.  At the end of the year, write them another note and thank them again by highlighting one to two specific things they did that contributed to the success of the chapter/the event/state council that they were volunteering on.


  • As an icebreaker at your first meeting of the year have each board member tell the group what their favorite movie is and why.  Make note of it and at the end of the year provide each board member with a thank you $5.00 gift card to Hollywood Video or Blockbuster to rent their favorite movie – be sure to write the movie they mentioned down in a thank you along with the gift card.  They will be very surprised that you knew that or remembered.


  • As an icebreaker at your first meeting of the year have each board member tell the group what their favorite beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) is and a favorite memory they have that includes their favorite beverage.  Make note of it and at the end of the year bring in a bottle of each person’s favorite beverage (wine, beer, makings for root beer floats, whatever) and thank them at the meeting for all they have done during the year.
  • The SHRM Store ( has some great books and accessories that you can purchase for each board member.  Everyone loves things engraved with their name.  How about a SHRM portfolio with their name engraved on it?  It will be a gift that is used long after they are off the board. 

While these are just a few ideas; think creatively, think personal, provide specifics, and thank them often.

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