Thanksgiving: "Verb Word" It!

As a young child, I had an English teacher who was obsessed with what she called, "the verb words," because they were active and led to more and more action in writing.  She used to make us stand up and act out all the verb words in our papers when we read them to the class.  I liked the writing part of that class, but the acting out "verb word" madness not so much.  I was the fat kid, you understand.  But what I did take away from that teacher is the importance of action, not only in our writing but also in our doing.

Thanksgiving is next week and what have you done to shine your community spotlight on this holiday? It's traditionally a day of family and football for many of us, so how can we make our residents feel like family today?  A few of the great retention ideas I've heard out there are:

Sending handwritten notes to residents telling them that you're thankful for their residency at your community and mentioning a specific way they make it better

Preparing and serving a GIANT Thanksgiving dinner for the residents

A step up on plain jane thank you cards, one community is sponsoring a float in their local day after Thanksgiving parade with a giant thank you to their residents on the side of it

Those are just some of the great ideas I've heard tossed around this week!  The float one has me really excited and I don't even like parades that much!

Another great way to "verb word" your Thanksgiving is through community outreach.  We are thankful for that big bird in front of us, but there are soldiers, sailors, marines, and flyboys far from home who don't have what we do right now.  They gave up their turkey with fixings so that we can enjoy ours in relative safety.  It takes a special level of dedication and commitment to be a part of the armed forces lifestyle, and that's definitely something that can be celebrated and is worthy of note.

Cell Phones for Soldiers is a great program that gives these folks a chance to call their families just a little more often and helps them feel connected with home, something we all ache for around the holiday season.  Another great perk is that by recycling old cell phones, they don't get thrown away in to the landfills as high tech trash.  Anything that can keep you, in Seattle, in touch with your grandma, in Florida, without any wires probably contains something that isn't going to be good for any of us if it seeps in to the groundwater.

Another great way for outreach at this time of year is to partner with a local food bank, shelter, or even your local branch of Toys for Tots.  These foundations help more people who don't have a bird in front of them and can do a lot of great things for families, singles, kids, & whoever in your community.  Sometimes, it seems we just set the box in the lobby and hope that it will fill itself up by magic.  We might send out a flier or email (or a twitter message once a day if we're REALLY on the ball) but we don't promote these sorts of things as well as we could.  A better approach to this might be to run a drive twice a year instead of just once and to use some, what I like to call, butt-end marketing.    Get your residents permission when they donate to publish a thank you to them, and then take a column out of your monthly newsletter and thank everyone who donated to the cause.  Social pressure says that the next time you do a drive, you'll have a lot more donations come in because, "everyone's doing it," and no one wants to look like a Scrooge.

Mindy Williams over at Rent and Retain had even another direction on "verb wording" your Thanksgiving.  In the Nov/Dec edition, she suggests the following:

On a poster board list all the great things that you are thankful for.  Here is an example: "I'm thankful for the drippy faucet that we recently fixed in apt. 2A.  As soon as the problem was brought to our attention we responded and had it fixed in less than 5 hours.  We are thankful we were able to provide such great customer service while saving water at the same time!"

Not only is this a great way to get your team in the thankful mindset, but it's also an awesome way to recognize accomplishments of your team and focus on the 99 great things that day instead of the 1 horrible thing.  Or, some days, the 1 thing that went right in a day of 99 mistakes.  Focusing on the positive of the day with a attitude of gratitude means good vibes will flow through your team and out to your residents, and the kind of retention and positive PR you can get from that can't be purchased with marketing dollars.

How will you and your team "verb word" Thanksgiving this year?

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