This post is just as true now as it was when it was originally published in 2014. Let me know how YOU’RE thanking your board!
Where there is no gratitude, there is no meaningful movement; human affairs become rocky, painful, coldly indifferent, unpleasant, and finally break off altogether. The social â€˜machineryâ€™ grinds along and soon seizes up.
ThanksgivingÂ is an obvious time to write about being thankful, andÂ itâ€™s nice to have a time to stop and consider all that we have to be grateful for. We think about our friends, our family, our health.
Itâ€™s also not a bad time toÂ stop and contemplate how awesome your board is, and how much theyâ€™ve contributed to the well being of your organization.
When was the last time youÂ thankedÂ your board members?
Theyâ€™re eachÂ making your agency a priorityÂ in their lives,Â giving work, wealth, wisdom and wit. They could be giving it somewhere else; they could also NOT be giving. But there they are, week after week, month after month,Â making difficult decisions,Â acting as cheerleaders,Â supporting your work,Â being ambassadorsÂ for your agency.
Each board member is the equivalent of a major donor.Â Whether or not the dollars are substantial, she has the capacity to make your life easier, introduce you to supporters, provoke new ideas, stabilize a situation. She should be told how much she means to you.
If youâ€™re theÂ Executive Director, the next time youÂ write a thank you noteÂ to a donor,Â also write oneÂ to a board member. Do that until youâ€™ve written one to every member of your board.Â If youâ€™re theÂ board president,Â sit down andÂ hand write a thank you note to each board member. If you can,Â name a specific actionÂ for which you are grateful.
Do you want toÂ cultivate an attitude of gratitudeÂ within the board? AtÂ each meeting, assignÂ one or two board membersÂ toÂ offer a very brief statement of gratitudeÂ around the organization. It might be why they areÂ grateful the organization exists. It might be what theyÂ appreciateÂ about aÂ staffÂ member. It might be what committee they are particularly grateful to.
In many faith traditions, there is the concept â€œdo not withhold the wages of the laborer.â€ Itâ€™s obvious how that applies to staff, but the wages of a volunteer are less obvious.
The wages of a volunteer â€“ the wages of your board members â€“ are the thanks she receives for her work.
The psychology of gratitude and its benefits are being researched throughout the fields of education, and migrating to the business world.Â Some readings on gratitudeÂ can be found atÂ gratefulness.org.
Visionary strategic planning is easier when board members are comfortable with each other. Exercises in gratitude are one way to facilitate this trust. For more about strategic planning and facilitating retreats, please contact me atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org orÂ www.detwiler.com