Morale is important to the success of any organization, and one way to help morale is to hold an annual appreciation dinner. Whether you are showing appreciation to your employees for the job they are doing, or letting your volunteers know that their contributions are needed, an appreciation dinner helps to make people feel good about the work they do.
Keep it Informal
An appreciation dinner should be a casual and fun event. Allow people to dress in business casual attire and make the menu something that should appeal to as many people as possible. A buffet-style meal may be more appropriate since you want people to enjoy themselves and have what they would like to eat. If you choose a sit-down meal, then give at least two choices on the menu. The more popular options are a chicken meal or a steak meal. Always have a vegetarian option available, and always make special dining arrangements in advance to accommodate people who may need a special menu or special seating arrangements.
Mardi Gras Theme
Mardi Gras is a fun and colorful theme to use for an appreciation dinner. Have a supply of Mardi Gras masks available for people as they enter, and decorate the room with colorful streamers and Mardi Gras-inspired decorations. Use a New Orleans theme for a part of the menu and place party horns and hats on the tables. Give away bead necklaces to those who deserve special recognition for their work during the year.
Another dinner theme that would be interesting to use would be a sports all-star theme. An all-star theme would allow you to give away all-star awards during the dinner. Encourage people to dress in the colors or uniforms of their favorite sports teams. Decorate the room with generic sports decorations or use the colors of a popular local college or professional sports team.
"Thank You" Theme
There are many ways to say "thank you" to the people you rely on, and at an appreciation dinner you can explore as many ways as you want. Have a coffee mug that says "Thank You" on it waiting for people at their table when they sit down. Give each person a "Thank You" certificate that they can hang on their wall. Hang a large "Thank You" sign behind the podium that everyone will see when people are speaking. Have all of the executives in the organization give "thank you" speeches to the people in attendance. It sounds very basic, but at an appreciation dinner you want to try and say "thank you" as much as possible.