Minister of Gratitude

August 03, 2008

Posted in General and Management.

When you rely on volunteers, donors, and the heroic efforts of a handful of paid staff members, thanking people is an absolute must. In fact, you should be really good at it. If you want to keep people involved, you can’t let this go.

The problem is that thanking people takes time and optimism, two things that are scarce in too many non-profits. Between the tense, stressful meetings and the frustrations of trying to gain program participants and donors, it’s easy to forget the people who work so hard to keep the ship afloat. And with the amount of time you spend with some of these people, chances are you’ve begun to take them for granted as well.

So we came up with an idea: recruit someone whose entire job is to thank people. We haven’t come up with a title yet, but I’m liking “Minister of Gratitude” or “Captain Thank You.” Here’s a sample job description:

Minister of Gratitude

The Minister of Gratitude is responsible for properly recognizing the contributions of our many volunteers, staff members, and supporters. This position requires knowledge of all participants and activities within the council. These efforts may include writing personalized letters, planning events, procuring gifts, or meeting with individuals. The ideal candidate will be a positive, optimistic, creative, and thoughtful person who can remind others of why they joined our organization and let them know that their investments of time, talent, and funding are appreciated. This role is critical to the continued success of our council.

We haven’t actually recruited someone for this role yet, but I have an idea of some candidates. It will be a volunteer position, as are most of our folks, and we won’t have much budget for this person to use—but that’s not what matters when you thank people. Creativity, thoughtfulness, and timing matter a lot more than the price of the thank you.

So what do you think… do you spend enough time thanking your team?

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