Friday, May 11, 2007


Take time to celebrate board successes, large and small, throughout the year. Celebration acknowledges achievements to internal and external audiences. It also reinforces behaviors and values that perpetuate the board’s work and its sense of community.

Different people value different types of recognition for their efforts. Some prize that certificate that they receive at the annual banquet. Others consider that to be a waste of paper. Some appreciate recognition of their accomplishments in their hometown newspaper or your college newsletter. Still others respond to new leadership responsibilities and a title to acknowledge their expanded role.

Don’t assume you know how individual members like to be recognized. Aren’t sure? Ask! This increases the likelihood that you will reward people in personally meaningful ways.

Newer boards – As you achieve milestones in your efforts to establish and build your board, take time to recognize both the milestone and the individuals who played leadership roles in attaining it. Include recognition of individual and group contributions in your strategic planning and your organizational framework.

Veteran boards – Periodically review both your recognition efforts and individual volunteers’ preferences regarding recognition of their work for you. As you evaluate your recognition program, ask these questions: do we reward what we say we value? How can we better acknowledge behaviors and attitudes that we value? Do we send any contradictory messages?

Some questions to guide discussion:

• How do we mark our accomplishments?
• How do we recognize those who help us achieve our goals?
• What type(s) of recognition is meaningful to us? To our volunteers? To our donors and other supporters?
• How can we enhance our recognition efforts?

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