Cost of Not Expressing Gratitude

As my girlfriend walked into the restaurant, it was clear that the margaritas needed to start flowing, stat.

She had just left a marketing meeting for a local non-profit where her passions and talents have been generously shared. I knew that during the last month she had poured herself into a very important marketing project for the organization. We settled in and began to discuss the meeting. She didn’t share the countless hours spent designing and producing the project. She didn’t share the frustration when at the one-yard line, the team finally provided input. She didn’t have to, the mix of extreme pride and eventual disappointment, was written all over her face.

After diving in and hearing the details of her experience, I asked “What could have been said so you walked away feeling as though your sacrifices were worth it?”

“Thank you.”

“That’s it?”

“Yes.”That’s it.

Non-profits, it’s not only about the cause. Your mission may reconcile with your volunteer’s WHY, however keep in mind, that isn’t enough. Expressing gratitude to your volunteers is critical. Acknowledging the significance of their time and sacrifices made to advance your operations, should be woven into everyday actions. Simple, yet powerful. It doesn’t cost a thing. Even with strained resources and competing demands, you cannot afford to ignore this one simple thing.

Say thank you.

That’s it.

“What are your next steps? Do you see yourself engaging in the future?”


“That’s it?”

That’s it.

Maybe my friend woke up the next morning and felt differently. Maybe she didn’t. Was it worth the Executive Director to not start the meeting off with, “first thank you for your hard work and dedication, this project is going to ensure……….” and worse, choosing to end the meeting with “I cannot wait to see the result of the project that so-and-so is working on, it’s going to be fabulous.” Right jab, left upper cut.

Imagine the passion that might have been ignited. The deeper connection. Inspiration. Empowerment. Willingness to lead new projects. Now? Talent lost. Opportunities lost.

What is the cost of your organization’s inability to say thank you?

*Certainly this message applies to all personal and professional relationships. Be someone's pick me up.