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Giving Thanks: How to Recognize Your Members & Volunteers

November 01, 2012

Section News

Giving Thanks: How to Recognize Your Members, Volunteers and Speakers

We’d like to take a moment to thank those who have put in the time and effort at our sections this year, including sponsors, speakers, current members, new members and especially our volunteers – you make it all possible, and without you, there would be no section. Thank you for the time, effort and care you’ve put into your section, and be sure to thank the many folks who help you do a great job each year. Below you'll find some ideas for your members, your volunteers and speakers.


  • Thank You Notes A simple handwritten note or a holiday card at the end of the year is always appreciated, especially from a member they know. This could take some time, so split up the task among your volunteers. You may want to recruit some well-known members to help out, especially if they know a lot of locals.
  • Gift Bags At your November meeting (or choose a particular meeting date) create some STLE goodie bags which show how thankful you are that the members come to your meetings and that they're members. You can include some STLE swag (see if HQ has items) or order your own with your section name. Some examples could be a fleece blanket a scarf, gloves/mittens, a travel mug, etc. if you're in a cold climate, or if you're in a warm climate, you could stick with STLE logoed shirts, a mug, or other similar items. You could include information on joining and STLE in general and use the remaining bags for new members that attend any future meetings.
  • Game of Chance For members who attend during a holiday season (where you might see an attendance dip), give them something fun to do! Have a set number of gift cards, sponsored items or generic gifts (gift baskets, wine/beer, fruit, chocolates, etc.) and award them based on changing rules for each meeting (or for each gift). You could give them out randomly based on the first few people who ask the speaker a question after the talk, the first few who sign in to the meeting, the ones who have a drink ticket left after the social hour, or even place envelopes beneath a certain number of seats to be redeemed at the end of the meeting.
  • Gift Cards If a member has been with STLE for a long time (check member anniversaries), has held their certification for a certain amount of time, or has volunteered for so many years, then you may consider giving them a gift card for future education courses, a future meeting, to use towards their dues or the Annual Meeting. You could even give them a free attendance to your workshop or a meeting if, for example, they've attended every single event for the past 10 years.


  • Thank You Notes The same goes for volunteers, and it's much less work to write handwritten notes to this tight-knit group. Be specific and thank them for all the tasks they've done this year, not just the most recent. You may also want to send them notes after they complete a big project, not just at the end of the year. Congratulate them on a job well done.
  • Certificate Offer volunteers a certificate for their participation at the section this year. It's something they could hang in their office, or show to their boss.
  • Gift Card/Gift You can give these members a gift card or a gift specific to their interests outside of work and STLE (for instance, a gift card to an outdoors-y store if they like to hike), or you could give them the item they've had their eye on (like a golf club - this could even come in handy for a golf outing, if you have one).
  • Discounts For their hard work all year, you may want to subsidize their membership, their meeting attendance, or something else STLE-related. It could come in handy with those members who pay their own membership and fees.
  • Host a Social just for your volunteers. This gives them a chance to wind down after all the hard work they've done this year, while still connecting and discussing the section. As a section you can subsidize the entire thing, or part of it for your volunteers. You can also invite your speakers from the past year if they're in the area, and include Past Presidents if you're so inclined.


  • Thank You Notes The same goes for speakers. It never hurts to send a handwritten note, along with a letter to their boss. Thank both the speaker and the company for their time and effort, and for loaning you their employee with their great technical expertise!
  • Membership/Subscription You could spring for a year of membership for the speaker or you could just let HQ know to add them to the database so they can receive digital TLT every month. 
  • Gift Card/Gift You can do the same thing here, except you may not know the speaker as well, so the gift could be more generic. Or, call up a colleague and see if you can find out what they like.

Remember, expressing your thanks is a great way to let someone know they're appreciated and that'll make it more likely that you'll see them again next year!

If you have any questions, contact us at (847) 825-5536 or at information@stle.org.

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