It's that thankful time of year again.
While you're stuffing your face with pumpkin pie, watching the Macy's parade, and spending time with the family, take some time this weekend to reflect on how you can appreciate the many people who keep your chorus afloat.
Here are some people you'll probably want to thank and even a few ideas for how to show your gratitude.
Your Chorus Members
Your choristers do so much for the chorus. They're probably already spending a lot of time this holiday season preparing their music and inviting friends and family to your holiday performances.
So, how can show them your love and appreciation?
Try hosting a holiday social event for your members complete with sing-alongs, holiday cookies, and wintery drinks. During the event, build in some fun holiday activities such as a "Yankee Swap." And spend a few minutes during the announcements to thank your singers and give special shoutouts to members who go "above and beyond" for the chorus.
I've said it a hundred times and I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: your volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization.
The holidays are the perfect time to thank your volunteers for the work they've done already this season and for the work they will continue to do.
Try giving every volunteer a hand-written thank you card over the holidays. Depending on the amount of volunteers you have, perhaps you can even spring for a small gift for each of them such as a coffee gift card. A $5 or $10 gift card to your volunteers can go a long way in keeping them motivated and feeling loved.
Need more volunteer appreciation ideas? Check out this blog.
According to Network for Good, the #1 reason why donors stop giving is "they stop thinking that they (or their gift) matter to your organization."
So, you can see now how appreciating donors is incredibly important. Over the holidays, find ways to ensure that donors feel their donation is valued and is making a difference in your organization.
Perhaps try creating a digital PDF of all the ways their donation(s) have helped your chorus fulfill its mission so far this season. Send this document along with a personalized thank you note to all of your donors. The more personalized, the better.
For your major donors, take some time to call them, send them a personalized video thank you, or even meet with them one-on-one to thank them for their generosity.
Other appreciation ideas might include hosting a post-concert reception for your donors, giving them access to special holiday discounts or complimentary tickets, or sending out a fun "happy holidays" card with a picture of the chorus.
It's no secret that nonprofit staff are typically undervalued and underpaid across the board. It's just the reality of the business. So, nonprofits must put in a lot of thought and care into making their employees feel truly valued.
This holiday season, try taking your staff members out to a thank you dinner where the chorus treats them to great food and drinks. When you can swing it financially, holiday gift cards, bonuses, or small gifts are always appreciated by the staff.
Worried about spending a lot of money? One way you can appreciate your staff without spending a dime, is to be extra understanding of your staff's holiday time. Give them ample time to spend with their family over the holidays, completely free from work stress. This is probably the most meaningful gift you can give them.
The board for your chorus does so much, has to deal with an incredible amount of drama, and don't get paid for it. Can someone please, and I cannot stress this enough, please thank them?
If you are a singer or staff member reading this, please remember to be extra kind to your board members this holiday season. Taking the time to personally thank your board members at your next rehearsal or sending them a hand-written card would mean the world to them.
For Board Presidents reading this, it might be nice to host a small dinner and get-together for your board - a way to meet in a casual setting where you're not dealing with drama and stress. Take some time to get to know each other and just have fun! Of course, hand-written notes to your board members will always be appreciated and maybe a small gift like some chorus swag would be a fun idea as well.
Other board members, your Board President is seriously a hero for being in that job. Please take some time to appreciate them. If you can, try to get them a nice gift based on their interests - perhaps a gift card, massage, or a bottle of wine would do the trick.
And last, but certainly not least, don't forget to thank yourself.
Working for a small nonprofit can sometimes feel like a pretty thankless job. It's a lot of work, and often times unpaid work.
It's important to take a step back and remind yourself that you're doing great things.
You're helping keep the choral arts alive in our community - and you already know how important that is. Don't forget to give yourself a big pat on the back this holiday season, and treat yourself! I'm thinking a nice massage would go a long way.
And if no one else from your chorus reads this blog and takes the time to thank you, I'm here on behalf of all of us to say THANK YOU for what you do. You matter. You're making a difference. You're inspiring us at Chorus Connection to keep doing what we do. And we're so grateful to share the experience of bringing beautiful choral music to this world with you!
Tori Cook is the former Director of Sales & Marketing at Chorus Connection. She sings with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and is a board member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium. In a past life, she was the Music Director of the Harborlight Show Chorus and President of Chorus pro Musica in Boston. When not making music, she daydreams about adopting a golden retriever puppy and scuba diving to exotic locations around the world.