Thanking those who are leaving your board helps them transition from board member to staunch supporter and advocate.
Whether they are hitting term limits or choosing to not seek another term, genuinely expressing gratitude for their service has the powerful ability to connect them to the organization in an indelible way.
A few ways I have said thank you to departing board members (or been thanked myself as a departing board member) include:
- A beautiful vase or bowl engraved with the organization’s gratitude [cost: $150 – $250]
- A beautiful watch with the words “We asked, you made time, thank you” engraved on the back [cost: $200 – $300]
- Putting together a scrap book of the person’s board service with pictures of them at events, in meetings, and organizational ephemera [cost: $50 – $75, but takes a good bit of time]
- Recognition at the annual meeting or a special event [cost: free]
- Recognition at their final board meeting with a cake and/or a champagne toast [cost: $25 – $75]
In addition to using a couple of the items above, my favorite way to recognize an outgoing board members is the personal thank you note. Whether hand written or typed, this note expresses my genuine thanks and identifies significant contributions the person made to the organization.
Outgoing board members who received these letters have often called or emailed to share how meaningful the thank you letter was to them. Since the nerd/archivist in me likes to keep copies of letters I send, I’m able to share a sample with you (the names of the organization and board member has been changed to the fictitious Ostrich Place, and you can click on the photo to download the word document).