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Saying Thanks During Crisis: It’s Different and Needed

By Tim Deuitch  |  March 18, 2021

Saying Thanks During Crisis: It’s Different and Needed

Personally and professionally, not much feels different as we slowly emerge from the Covid-19 crisis. Some changes will be permanent, others partial, and some norms will return. While there are still unknowns, you know that many people have contributed to your efforts, and that sharing your progress and thanking them well has now become essential.

People have stepped up:

  • Your team members have stepped up in extraordinary ways, a few more than others. You know they are tired, but their work continues.
  • People and organizations have stepped up in extraordinary ways, some are current supporters and others new. You have new partners whose organizations stepped up in new ways, and some that took new leadership roles.

Operationally you’ve changed:

  • You have managed the technical changes and competencies needed to stay connected with stakeholders. You have spent the time needed to land and manage new grants, and spent the time to learn new partners and/or partnerships. You’ve asked team members and volunteers to take new and added roles even while they were handling their own personal challenges.

It’s time to thank them all now. Why? Three reasons:

  1. In times of crises, it’s natural to wait until it’s ‘over’ to efficiently thank all. Many of the above stepped up months ago to now. It’s past time for most.
  2. You’ve had wonderful results. Progress reports are always well received. Sharing news now inspires greater commitment and word-of-mouth.
  3. Your team is tired. They’ve been stepping up and succeeding for months. Stop everything, and tell them how much they’re appreciated.

Virtual and In-Person Approaches

Share how They Mattered

  • Communicate results. People responded because others needed help. Tell them who was helped and how.
  • Share pictures of those who helped
  • Invite people who were helped who are willing to express thanks.
  • Share work still in progress.

Make it Personal

  • Hold a virtual or in-person event in which they are present and participate – letters are not enough.
  • Invite others who are credible to them – family, leaders, officials – and ask them to say thanks.
  • Share pictures that show them in the act of caring.

Make it Special

  • Mail them a memento before the event. Perhaps something that places them among an affinity group of crises responders.
  • Keep it light! Like asking all to change their Zoom name to ‘Hero’.
  • Ask for a public official to communicate thanks on behalf of the community.

Get started. Great charities thank their supporters all the time and in meaningful ways. A crisis is often a time when supporters are keenly interested in your work and how their gifts help. Stand out by letting them know your accomplishments and thanking them for their help. Good luck!


Tim Deuitch

Senior Performance Consultant

Tim brings over 25 years of experience working closely with business leaders throughout the Twin Cities and the USA. He has worked within a multitude of workplace cultures and economic cycles, helping leaders and teams improve their effectiveness and results. Since joining SEG in 2007, Tim has continued his work as a change agent, helping organizations meet their goals. Tim graduated from Warren Wilson College in 1983 with a B.S. degree in social work.

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