The Most Unforgettable Thank You I Ever Received

Nov 20, 2017

More than a decade ago, I received a thank you from a client that I have never forgotten. 

In fact, I appreciated that thank you so much that it has remained above my desk all these years. It came from a guy named Scott, after conclusion of a project that we had been working on together. 

Scott had printed an email announcement about the project’s results, added some colorful highlighting and some stickers, then cut the paper into the shape of a feather.  He said he wanted me to have it as “a feather in my cap”. 

Could he have sent just a quick email to say thank you?  Absolutely.

He also could have easily sent a regular thank you note card. But Scott went a step beyond and made his thank you unforgettably memorable.

This month, inside The Circle (my community for membership-builders), we've been focused on a theme I called “Appreciation Season”.  We're in that time of year where the holidays are nearly upon and the year-end is just weeks away.  It's a time when our thoughts naturally turn to ways to appropriately show gratitude to all of those who have helped make our year successful.

Yet, saying thank you can be expensive, especially when there’s a significant volume of people involved.  So, how do you make a thank you memorable rather than monetary?

Here are 3 suggestions to make even a non-monetary thank you unforgettable:

1. Be specific.

Scott could have simply said, “Hey, thanks for your help on the project. It meant a lot.”  But he didn’t. He used an email that was very specific about the results that we had achieved together. Tell the recipient of your thank you what’s different for you because of their contribution. Specificity creates a more emotional connection between you and the recipient of the thank you.  It will make your expression of appreciation feel extra special.

2. Be personal.

Scott could have sent the same thank you to everyone who worked on his project, but he didn’t. He carved out the component that I had specifically worked on and used that as the focus for his thank you. There was absolutely nothing that felt generic about it. I knew he was thinking specifically about my contributions when he created it. That elevates the thank you experience. I’d work on another project with Scott anytime because I knew my work was truly valued.

3. Be creative.

Can you capture the essence of your appreciation in an unexpected way?  Scott’s use of an email announcement that came out about our project was certainly creative and unexpected.  How about using a page out of your organization’s annual report?  What about a photograph that depicts the success that your members are working toward?  How about a collection of 11 Hershey’s hugs for the 11 referrals someone sent your way for an event?

Have you received, or given, a thank you that was unforgettable?
Leave a comment below and let me know! I'd love to hear the story!



Joy Duling is Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.  Since 2005, Joy and her team have helped associations, trade groups and membership-based nonprofits run their programs more easily and deliver exceptional member care.

You can find FREE tools, tips and training to help you run and grow your membership organization in The Joy of Membership Help Hub.

Hey there.  I’m Joy Duling, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

Clients hire me to help them design and deliver exceptional member experiences. If you lead an association, trade group, or membership-based nonprofit, you can find FREE resources to help you run and grow your membership organization by visiting here:

I look forward to connecting with you there.