updated 11/25/2013 10:17:12 AM ET 2013-11-25T15:17:12

Startups typically owe their success to a few key players. We've had the benefit of being surrounded by tremendously helpful and influential people throughout our careers who gave us the tools and experience we needed to start  Hukkster

And while we plan on saying thank you to these key communities, it's probably not a bad idea to do the same. After all, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the people and events in our lives which have helped us to grow and succeed -- a holiday which is particularly relevant to the entrepreneurs of the world.

Here are three clever ways to show your appreciation this holiday:

1. Say it, uniquely. In a world of e-cards, emails and even virtual flowers (yes, they exist), it may seem appealing to demonstrate graciousness toward a mentor or investor through an online exchange. One of the biggest mistakes made in today's digital age is to underestimate the value of a handwritten thank you note. A carefully crafted letter written on personalized stationery or note cards with a nice print becomes a sentimental item for a mentor to cherish -- a tangible reminder of her influence on you.

Related: 18 Easy Ways to Say 'Thanks'

2. Donate in their name. If you want to leave a truly indelible mark on your mentor and/or employees, consider making a donation in their honor. There are a number of apps that can help facilitate a donation in their name. Websites like, for instance, allow you to make a gift donation to almost any charity of your choosing. With so many participating organizations, it's a great way to personalize your gift while also giving back in the process. 

3. Pay it forward. If you've had the benefit of being guided by some great mentors, chances are that you are on your way to becoming one yourself -- whether you've realized it yet or not. Depending on where you are in your career, it might be time for you to return the favor by taking a few mentees under your wing.

One of the best, and most accessible, places to start is at your alma mater. Becoming a point person for job seeking seniors and recent alums of your college is a fantastic way to give back to your network and foster new talent. If you're interested in mentoring those who are specifically interested in entrepreneurial ventures, Women 2.0 offers a "Lunch Mentorship" program, which matches a mentor with five mentees over lunch, as part of its nationwide conference series. If you are the founder of a successful startup, you can apply to participate as a mentor in their next conference  here

Related: What Every Mentor Should Know

Copyright © 2013, Inc.


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