One of the easiest ways to lose active members is to take them for granted and not openly appreciating their contributions to your organization. If someone does not feel like they are valued for their work, they might just put their efforts someplace else where they are appreciated. Here are some ways to let your members know that you appreciate their work.

People like to be thanked, so thank them for their good work. The more public, the better. People crave recognition, and many are disheartened when they think their contributions are being overlooked. Are you at a meeting giving a talk about a new program that a member put in a ton of work on? Thank them at the meeting. Do you put out a newsletter? Thank the people that had a big part in the stories you cover. The same goes for a blog or website.

One of the big no-nos is taking complete credit for something that your members worked hard on and not thanking them. You’d better believe that they aren’t going to be jumping at the chance to help next time if it just looks like a way to make you look good. Another thing to avoid is only thanking “important” people and not the lesser-known members that probably did most of the work.

Personal thank yous go a long way as well. With Facebook it can be as quick and easy as posting a thank you on that member’s wall.

Organizations tend to be a lot better at showing their appreciation to their donors than to their members, but you should make the same effort for both. Without your members you don’t even have an organization. Think about the things you have done to thank donors, and look at how you could do something similar to thank your members.

Never, ever, take your members’ contributions for granted. They are putting effort into your organization for free, and you have to acknowledge that. Bossing members around and treating their contributions as just “something they should be doing anyway” will lead to fewer contributions. This applies to officers as well. While they are expected to fulfill their responsibilities as officers, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be thanked for doing a good job. Many people will much sooner scold someone for not doing something than thank them for a job well done, and that should not be the standard operating procedure.

So remember, your members are your organization and should not be taken for granted, and a little thank you will do a whole lot of good.

What are your thoughts on appreciating members? Leave a comment.