Thoughts on Gratitude this National Philanthropy Day
Monday, November 16, 2015
With National Philanthropy Day upon us, I’ve been thinking about gratefulness, and the varying degrees of it. Why are some more inclined than others to feel and demonstrate their gratitude? Besides taking responsibility for my own actions, how can I encourage others to be more thankful and understand the value, benefit and importance of such a seemingly simple action as expressing thanks? In a nutshell, how can I help cultivate gratitude attitudes?
Gratefulness is a learned behavior, an emotion and action that we learn through our interactions with the world and early experiences with family, friends, and teachers. Being repeatedly encouraged to say please and thank you, we learned about thankfulness, and built our emotional capacity and intelligence.
Many contribute to our success. We nurture these relationships by promptly thanking the coach, mentor, donor - and demonstrating the impact of their gifts. Keeping in touch with those that help us is important. We never know where our journey will take us next and whose support we might need along the way. We also never know when we may be asked to help – and have a chance to return a favour, or pay one forward.
Developing tangible, measurable skills in life is necessary. But it is the soft skills that truly elevate us, make us memorable, and secure our futures. The soft skills make the journey more enjoyable, less lonely and more rewarding. A thank you says a great deal about the thanker, as does a silence when thanks are due, that perhaps makes an even stronger statement.
National Philanthropy Day is a day of thanks. A day to show our donor love. It’s is a natural day to say thank you to SHAD’s many donors: corporations, foundations, and individuals, including alumni, parents, past and present board members, staff and friends. It is also a good day to reflect on the importance of taking action to sincerely express thanks for the gifts we receive
As an organization, SHAD is grateful. But SHAD, the organization, does not have needs per se. Our young participants, the ultimate beneficiaries of donations, are the ones with needs. The need to learn alongside like-minded peers. The need to be challenged. The need to be motivated and inspired to achieve their potential. In some cases, the need for financial support to reach their full promise. SHAD’s donors don’t donate TO us, they donate THROUGH us – to empower exceptional youth.
To all the SHAD alumni who have expressed their thanks and taken action to help SHAD’s donors see the value of their investment, thank you. To everyone who has given their time, expertise and financial support so SHAD can flourish, thank you.
It’s been said that the silence of ungratefulness is one of the loudest noises one can make, and the reverberations felt far and wide. I encourage you to fill up that moment with the sounds of appreciation, gratefulness, gratitude and SHADitude.
Happy National Philanthropy Day! May the day set aside to honour the love of humanity be a time when we reflect on those who give selflessly to help, and prompt us to take positive action to express gratitude. Let’s commit to cultivating a gratitude attitude.
Wendy Zufelt-Baxter, Vice President, Advancement at 10:46 AM