At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
What if taking care of yourself also meant taking care of your donors?
You’d jump on it, right?
Gratitude is a good choice for you. And it can strengthen your relationships – including those with your donors.
Gratitude helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
Isn’t that what fundraising depends on?
In the U.S., we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving this week.
It’s an entire holiday about gratitude. Though in practice, it becomes more about eating and family and football.
Keep the grateful in Thanksgiving
Practice gratitude. Yoga, meditation or religion needs to be a practice if you want the benefits. Gratitude is the same way.
It turns out that practice changing our brains. And gratitude works like a natural anti-depressant.
What we focus on determines how we feel. Focus on all the irritations of your day and you’ll feel irritated. Focus on what’s been good about your day and you’ll feel good.
Simple idea, though I admit, it’s often easier to recite the list of annoyances.
How to be more grateful
Many articles suggest a daily journal, recording what you’re grateful for, can make a big difference.
Maybe I’m lazy, or do enough writing all day. But I don’t think that’s the idea for me.
One idea I read about sounds quite easy, though.
A gratitude jar. Instead of journaling, when you think about something you’re grateful for, write it down on a scrap of paper. Then put the scrap in a jar. At the end of the year – maybe as a New Year’s Eve tradition – read the notes.
Most come down to being aware of what you can be grateful for and consciously turning negative thoughts around.
What was that about donors?
So, OK, you’ll be happier. That’s good. And at the moment, I think many of us need some happy.
But positive feelings and showing gratitude are contagious.
When you make positive changes in your own life, those effects ripple out from you and you can find yourself surrounded by the very thing you fostered.
Nicholas Christakis, Harvard Medical School professor of medical sociology and of medicine
So, yes, send that letter or email to your donors thanking them – only thanking them – this Thanksgiving.
Pick up the phone just to say thanks.
But don’t stop there.
Take the time during the rest of the year to do that as well. You want happy donors all year long.
Make sure you have a stewardship plan in place – systems that make thanking people as important as asking them.
Here are some ideas about ways to say thanks.
And spread the practice around your organization as well. When everyone is feeling happier, your workplace stress may feel more manageable.
And that will definitely leave your feeling happier.
Bottom, line: you never know who needs to hear “thank you”.
So share the spark – this Thanksgiving and beyond.
Photo: Jamie Street
And a huge thank you to you.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing and commenting.
You make me feel like part of a tremendous community of good people doing good work. Thank you for including me!