I learned a new word: thank-a-thon. Last week, two association execs participating in a twitter chat used the term in reference to efforts to thank members.
What I understood it to mean is staff setting aside a specific date/time to churn out a large volume of thank yous to members; or a designated event where the purpose is to do specific thank you outreach to volunteers (which could be volunteers and/or staff).
Thank-a-thons do not have to be about making phone calls (and some, like me, may not want to get phone calls) - it could be writing email, sending personal cards or personal notes.
Naturally, I also had to Google it - and found an organization that has scripted phone calls as part of its thank-a-thon, with varied purposes for the effort besides just saying thanks:
1. Cultivating donors: Saying thanks and explaining where their money went and/or brief updates
2. Feedback: Saying thanks and asking if they have input, suggestions or questions (then be sure to follow-up if they do)
3. Participation: Saying thanks and asking if they have interest in participating in events or activities; and learn from their response
4. Leads: Say thanks and ask if they know of others who may be interested in joining the organization, attend events or being more involved
That organization also indicated thank-a-thons should not be about asking for money, but if someone offers to contribute, to be prepared to take their donation.
For more on giving thanks, check out this excellent blog post on the importance of setting aside time to give thanks, and the importance of keeping track of who deserves to be thanked.
You could likely list people just from today to thank. So thank them, and thank-a-thon.