By Amy Phipps
There is no way to spread good feeling faster than by sharing a little gratitude. I found this out several years ago, when I was asked to chair a small committee at my church called “Attitude of Gratitude.”
I have to admit I thought the name was a little corny, but I found that the work of the group was incredibly meaningful. It centered on “stealth gratitude.” Every month, the group would hand-write thank-you notes to congregants who had done something helpful or noteworthy. The “stealth” element was that we signed the notes not with our names, but as “The Attitude of Gratitude Committee.”
Being thanked is usually not the reason that people give gifts – of themselves, their time or their money. But it is the little extra glow that lets them know that their giving is noticed and appreciated. And, sometimes, that’s what keeps givers going.
In this season of Thanksgiving, I reached out to some colleagues to ask which expressions of gratitude were most meaningful to them. Here are their responses:
I received a thank you note personally signed by the entire Executive Board of our school’s PTA for working on the school’s directory. Just a simple note that you are appreciated for what you do helps you to continue to volunteer. –Karen Kegg
Foundation work changed me. A simple sincere hand-written note signed preferably by a volunteer, client, family member of someone receiving services, makes my day. A simple statement that says, your gift will…doesn’t have to change the world, just let me know that a life is better because of my gift is more than enough. – Marion Lee
I appreciate when the organizations I support send acknowledgments that include a personal note. For example, even though the thank you letter may be standardized, when a staff member takes the time to scribble a quick “Thanks Joyce!” it means that somebody is paying attention and makes me feel valued. Simply put, THANKING MATTERS!! – Joyce Penland
The most meaningful sentiments of appreciation I have received have been personal, simple, and sincere. A warm handshake or hug from a client and a “thank you for helping us get better” means everything to me and serves as inspiration to continue to add value to vision to those organizations we serve. – Alexis De Sela
After I left the Attitude of Gratitude Committee to move on to other parish service, you might guess what I received in the mail. Yes…A beautiful notecard with a simple message, signed by “The Attitude of Gratitude Committee.” Even though I knew where it came from, I was humbled and moved by the fact that they had reached out to me. And it made me more determined than ever to remember to be thankful, and to express those thanks frequently and sincerely.
As you plummet headlong into the holiday season – especially hectic in the nonprofit world – remember the message of the Attitude of Gratitude Committee – we see you, we appreciate you, and Thank You!