Aaron Summers

Showing Appreciation

In Appreciation, Volunteers on April 11, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Appreciation is underrated. You might think it is over-rated, but I would beg to differ.  If you are the one who has moved your family and worked hard, appreciation is welcomed.  In an age of produce or your gone, the turnover is so quick we do not have much time to show appreciation.  We woo hard, but marry weak.  We love the newness of staff and employees. We love the search, the interviews, and the hire.  We love welcoming someone new into our presence.  However, many organizations struggle with the appreciation of the effort, time, and sacrifice someone makes in service to the organization. We are happy to see a new unit, group, or division begin.  Are we as excited 1 year, 5 years, 10 years later?  We wonder why people leave for other places and organizations. We are amazed that people are not as enthused to volunteer like they have in the past.

Could it be that we leave them feeling abandoned on the lonely island of service and volunteerism?  Could it be that our lack of appreciation coupled with the view of the goodness of other places cause them to leave?  Could it be that a show of appreciation is undervalued and underrated?  10 words and a hand clap is not enough.  A slap of the back is not enough.  We must show appreciation.

49 When they had finished distributing the land into its territories, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them.

Joshua 19

The Israelites were grateful for the leadership of Joshua.  They gave of themselves to show Joshua how they felt.  How can we show appreciation today?  Here are a few ways to show appreciation for your people in your organization for National Volunteer Week usually celebrated in April or May.

  • Have a party and give awards or prizes to volunteers.
  • Plan a group activity or outing, such as a picnic in the park, or a movie night.
  • Invite volunteers to share stories about volunteering with your organization, and feature those stories in your newsletter or on your Web site.
  • Have staff members talk about a great experience they’ve had with volunteers, and share this experience with everyone.
  • You probably have some of your own ideas percolating now too: great!
  • Have a “Just For You Day” and offer to serve them through car washes, lunches, and more.
  • Appreciation Dinner
  • Write a hand-written note and say “You make working here fun.” Include a really good joke.
  • Look him in the eye and say, “I don’t know what I’d do without you around here.”
  • Thank the employee publicly.
  • Say, “Nobody has your unique set of talents and skills. I’m glad we get to use them.”
  • Send a hand-written note to the employee’s spouse or partner singing praises of the employee, and thanking the partner for their support.
  • Say “Bob, you’re really good at what you do.”
  • Say “I’m glad you’re on our team.”
  • Say “Your customers love you.”
  • Thank an employee privately.
  • Do something out of the ordinary.
  • Give the employee more responsibility.
  • Take the employee out to lunch with you and your boss.
  • Buy a pair of tickets for the employee and her spouse to a movie or concert.
  • After a huge accomplishment: Have a limo pick up the employee at home and bring him to work.
  • Buy her a book you know she’ll love.
  • Send her to lunch with three of her friends who don’t work for your company. Pick up the tab.
  • Take his car to get it washed, or have a mobile car wash visit your parking lot.
  • Send the employee home with a thick, fresh Porterhouse steak.
  • Buy a subscription to a magazine the employee would love.
  • Prepare lunch at the employee’s desk for the employee.
  • Get the autograph of the employee’s kid’s favorite sports hero and give it to the employee to give to his child.
  • Buy a coffee for the employee every morning for a month. Bring it into work with you.
  • Have some plants sent to the employee’s home.
  • Take the employee and his kid fishing.

Thank you to Skip Anderson for much of this list!

Those who work for, or with, you are valuable assets that need to be appreciated.  Do so liberally and often.

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