While everyone else is busy engaging with donors this time of year, what if you spent some time appreciating your board members? I mean they’re donors too, right?

Do you treat your board members at least as well as your major donors?

After all, not only do they invest financially, but they share their expertise and talent, contribute time away from work and family, serve as ambassadors in the community. These volunteers are your trusted partners who are changing the world alongside you. You want to be sure they know how much you value their service.

And keep in mind that everyone is an individual. While one person may like public acknowledgment, others might be mortified by it.  Think about your organization’s culture first, then determine which of these ideas (or some version thereof) might work best for your nonprofit. 

1. Let them hear from your peeps. Can you have someone who has benefited from your services call board members to thank them for their service? How cool would that be?! Or maybe they could write/draw handwritten cards saying how the board’s dedication has changed their lives. Hearing a personal story is very powerful.

2. Give them some swag. Now before you roll your eyes, trust me on this. You have to be thoughtful because not everyone likes a mug or pen or sweatshirt. So pay attention or ask around and order a few inexpensive items with your logo on it. Wine glasses? Themed gift basket? (A quick online search will reap you many options).  Customized swag serves a dual purpose as PR for your organization too, by the way.

3. Host a social just to say thanks. Depending on what the preference is of your board, this could be an informal BBQ in the backyard or a nearby park. It could be a ballgame, but be sure to allow for socializing before or after. You could have a cocktail reception. Two rules at this event – no business allowed other than an expression of gratitude, and be sure to invite significant others.

4. Leverage technology. You can send individual or group thanks by creating a video of a heartfelt thank you – by you, or the beneficiaries of your work or both. Or create a collage of digital impact photos and craft a meaningful message. Boast about your board in your email blasts and on social media. Any of these ideas are very inexpensive and take minimal time to do.

Too often our boards get overlooked when it comes to recognition. Most of them don’t need it, and many even say they don’t want it because that’s not why they serve.

But – what we know is that they sure deserve it and actually appreciate it too.

Now go on out there and make a volunteer feel special during this season of gratitude!  And please share how you appreciate your board in the comments below.