May 6, 2014

What if Everyone Practiced Gratitude Year Round?

What if everyone in the world started to do this?”

Often when I suggest moving to a year round stewardship campaign, people express anxiety about talking about money year round. 

I like to suggest that saying thank you in a variety of ways throughout the year is a great way to educate donors about how their funds are being used and to show appreciation for volunteer’s time. The United Way’s rule of thumb is thanking folks seven times through out the year.

Here’s what happened when St. John’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan adopted a discipline of gratitude:
  • Members of the vestry meet with each of the ministry committees, bringing them pastries/cookies and a heartfelt word of thanks for their gifts to the parish.
  • One member, who manages the local deli, was taken by this approach and now includes a “Round Robin Thank you” in his weekly meeting with deli staff. Each week a staff member is invited to share a story of gratitude about their work.
  • Another member is a social worker; she was surprised to receive a heartfelt thank you from her boss for her work. This was her first note of thanks in four years of service to her community. 

Gratitude is contagious. Originating at St. John’s, its impact was felt in other sectors of the Mt. Pleasant Community. 

The wise rector, when told of the news of this uprising of gratitude asked, “What if everyone in the world started to do this?”

Indeed, what would it look like?

What are some creative ways you are thanking your donors and volunteers throughout the year?