Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Gratitude

Whether you’re reaching your volunteers or your team, a little bit of thanks and appreciation goes a long way. Check out these pieces from our archives; you’ll be thankful you did.

There may be a specific time of year when gratitude springs eternal (that would be Thanksgiving), but it by no means has to be limited to a specific date.

Sometimes, showing a little appreciation goes a long way to help strengthen bonds. It could be the start of true engagement—as the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

With that in mind, we regale you with some highlights from the Associations Now and archives.

Creative Ways to Say Thanks to Your Volunteers. This 2018 piece shares how the IT organization ISACA put on a Volunteer Appreciation Week celebration. The secret to making it work? A prompt-based crowdsourcing approach that encouraged the organization’s staff to offer thanks. “It was a good opportunity to highlight the impact that volunteers have on our organization and within the professional community,” said Melissa Swartz, CAE, the group’s director of membership and community operations. “We turn it into a really fun campaign that the association staff can really get behind to support.”

We Asked, You Answered: How You Thank Your Volunteers. Speaking of crowdsourcing, this reader-generated roundup from 2021 highlights the many ways that associations gave their thanks to volunteers during that year’s National Volunteer Week. “We put together a fun social event where they can enjoy an evening together, and we are sending them each a gift from the association,” said Caitlin Myers, manager of membership for the Independent Educational Consultants Association, in her example.

Membership Hack: The Gratitude Book. This 2017 piece features the work of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, which had its staff members sign a book to say thanks, yearbook-style. “We wanted a simple and tangible item to give our members to recognize those in leadership roles,” said Jennifer Rowell, NCACPA’s former director of member engagement. “This is an inexpensive but very personal way to thank our members.” 

How to Tell Whether You’re Building Community—or Just Doing a Transaction. Is the secret to gratitude in the phrasing? David Spinks, the founder of the online community manager platform CMX, made the case that gratitude may be the distinction point for discouraging a transaction-driven community. “It’s a subtle but important difference between saying, ‘If you do this, you’ll get that’ and ‘As a thank-you for doing this, we’re giving you that,’” he said. “Use incentives as a form of gratitude rather than the core motivation that moves people to participate.”

Apply Transcendent Leadership Principles to Improve Workplace Culture. Gratitude isn’t just about impressing volunteers or even building a community. It may be one of the most powerful tools you have to help build a strong relationship with your staff, wrote Victor Cora Nazario of SOAR Community Network. “Transcendent leaders use self-compassion and compassion for others to unlock the doorway to wisdom, interconnectedness, and collaboration,” Nazario explained. “When we all feel valued, respected, and appreciated, we engage and work together authentically and effectively.”

We hope you found this informative, and we appreciate your time.

(Eoneren/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!