It’s ALWAYS the Season for Fostering Gratitude

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It’s ALWAYS the Season for Fostering Gratitude

By Christina Welty, MA

As we are just coming off the holiday season, it is great to see that the spirit of holidays is steeped in generosity.  Not only was everyone busy choosing the perfect gifts for friends and family, but many also participated in local food drives or “adopt a family” through their favorite local charities. Much the same, association leaders often show gratitude for their members during the holiday season. Now more than ever, it’s important to show gratitude ALL year and not just during the holidays. 

Let’s explore some thoughtful ways you can show association members you care:


A handwritten note goes a long way 
Take the time to send personalized thank you notes to members and industry leaders, highlighting the positive impact they’ve had on the association. This personal touch goes a long way in making members feel valued. 

Recognition in publications
Interview a member or board member and include it in association newsletters or other publications. In this example, our business partner shares his take on the industry as well as why being an FDLA business partner is valuable to him and his company.  Publicly recognizing his support reinforces a sense of pride in being part of the association. Additionally, the same publication plans to create an ad in its first issue of 2024 to thank this years’ advertisers.


Highlights on social media  
Most associations utilize at least one social media channel.  A simple shoutout on platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook or X (formerly known as Twitter) can increase recognition and reach a broader audience. Try showcasing the achievements of your members – whether they completed a project or won an award – or highlight those that are new to the organization. This not only recognizes their efforts, but also inspires others within the association.  Another idea is to create a personalized video, thanking your members. Board members and staff could be a good resource for this project.


 Organize exclusive events

One of our associations hosts an exclusive dinner for its Guardian Council members.  This event recognizes their contributions to the organization while giving an opportunity to network with other council members. The group also participates in a webinar with our lobbyist, where they get a sneak peek of the upcoming legislative session and potential issues impacting their industry.  Creating exclusive events or webinars demonstrates your commitment to providing unique value to your community and shows members that their involvement is appreciated.

Celebrate Milestones & The Industry
Recognize and celebrate membership renewals and milestones. One of our national associations has a credentialing program and milestones are recognized during their annual meeting as well as at the state component meetings.  Acknowledging the commitment of long-standing members reinforces their importance to the association and to their industry. 

You could also designate a week or month to celebrate your members and the industry.  One of our associations celebrated CDT and Dental Technician Appreciation Month and had a champagne happy hour during an industry event this year.


Volunteer Recognition
Our associations would not survive without dedicated volunteers who serve on our boards. Create a program for outstanding volunteers and recognize your outgoing president or give a president’s award during your conference. 

By incorporating these creative ideas throughout the year, we not only acknowledge the valuable contributions of our association members but lay the foundation for continued growth and success in the years to come.

Do you utilize some of the ideas above with your own association?  What additional ideas do you have to show gratitude to your members?

Christina Welty, MA – Christina brings over eighteen years’ experience working with state, regional and national associations. Christina is a member of the Florida Society of Association Executives and completed the Qualified Association Specialist Program. She is also a graduate of the TSAE Program in Association Leadership. Christina holds a B.A. in Communication from Hanover College and a M.A. in Communication from The Florida State University.  Fun Fact(s): Christina enjoys reading, spending time with her family and watching college football.   


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