Make publicizing your group's good works and thanking the people who contributed to your success a year-end priority.

by Craig Bystrynski


Congratulations on a great year. Sure, it’s not over yet, but it’s time for some pats on the back.

Doing a little celebrating now can help build morale for that final push. It can also give you a good jump-start on next year by publicizing your accomplishments and getting people interested and excited all over again. So go ahead and sing your group’s praises—and those of the volunteers, teachers, principal, and any others who helped you throughout the year.

Does this sound unimportant or even a little frivolous? In fact, it’s a big-picture item that marks true leadership. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day tasks and million-odd details involved in your work. To create long-term success, you need to get out of that mode from time to time and take a look around. Publicizing your successes means letting parents know that your group is worth supporting. You are in fact marketing yourself to the people who will become your future volunteers, support your fundraisers, and attend your activities.

Publish a list of what you’ve done this year in your newsletter. Post it on your website. Create a bulletin board with photos of all of your events. Make a scrapbook to show off at every school gathering. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t achieve absolutely everything you had hoped this year. When you look back, chances are you did plenty of things that made a difference for the school community.

Tell people about how fun your family night was. Tell them all the ways you supported the teachers. Tell them what items you funded for the school and what opportunities you created for the students. People gravitate toward success; let them know you’re successful.

Celebrating your volunteers is a smart management practice. It keeps your current contributors happy and on board by letting them know you value what they bring to your group. And if they’re happy, they’re more likely to spread the word to their friends.

The most effective way to express appreciation is personally and on an ongoing basis. “Thanks, you really helped make the carnival a success” is a great message to deliver, even if your volunteer only took tickets for an hour. The key is to make it clear that every little bit makes a difference and combines for a successful whole. But it’s important to make a public display, too. Create a wall of fame with the name of every volunteer listed on a construction paper heart—and make sure you don’t leave out anyone. Feature a volunteer of the month in your newsletter. Hold a thank-you dinner.

Publicizing your accomplishments and celebrating the people who helped make them possible sends the message that your group gets things done and you value all contributions. When people think of your group like that, you’ll be well on your way to another great year.

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