Grab an Attitude of Gratitude!
We are deep into the “Month of Gratitude” and Thanksgiving is upon us. I am taking time to reflect upon the things I am thankful for, like: my amazing son, my loving rescued miniature schnauzer, the quick return of my working laptop (tear), my mom and her supportive community, and the blessing of being able to help others do good in their jobs and in their organizations!
I could go on and on…I have a lot for which I am thankful.
When I think of times of gratitude during my career with grants, snapshot memories flash before my mind’s eye of great unabashed joy and rowdy celebration upon hearing or seeing the words:
"Congratulations! You have been awarded the grant!”
These moments are pure! They have been filled with a great sense of camaraderie, triumph, and validation. Hard won grant applications are often built with strong partners who share a vision and a passion to address pressing and often life-changing issues. These are projects where everyone involved has invested a little part of their soul in the hopes and dreams of a better future for those who will be served by the project.
For example, I can remember getting a call about a HUD multi-million dollar grant award and letting out a sound that caused people to rush to my office to (and I quote):
a) help me kill a mouse,
b) catch me as I fainted from seriously bad news, or
c) see the wicked crash that must have happened on the street outside my office window!
Luckily, the HUD representative on the other end of the phone conversation took my unprofessional outburst for what it was – a fireworks display of relief, celebration, excitement, and hope. I quickly regained my composure and thanked the HUD representative. Then, of course, I got off the phone and proceeded to continue the ruckus. (By the way, we had 4 more calls that day for various HUD awards. It was a day I will never forget).
These grants saved lives, saved families, saved kids health, saved homes, saved communities and so much more. We had fought to gain policy maker support, to raise awareness for the issues, and to show communities what would happen if we didn’t get funding. When I say ‘we’ I mean a big ‘WE’. We were government agencies, nonprofits, and grassroots activists from housing, health, schools, landlords, tenants, legal aid, City Council, State Representatives, County Commissioners and many more. I had the pleasure of writing many of the grants with unbelievable support from my staff and partners. It was a lot of pressure to be the lead writer and project coordinator with so much riding on my work. Thinking back, I feel like cheering again!
Why do I bring this instant up (beyond the fact that I like to relive that day and many other grant award moments)?
One of the first things I do when I get this kind of great news is to push out the gratitude. I sent thank you letters and thank you notes to anyone who had contributed to this success of these grant applications. Yes, I even sent what some may call sappy letters to HUD. Does this matter to HUD or any other big government funder? Well, years later I saw a faded thank you note, that had survived a few office moves, posted up in a HUD office with my signature at the bottom. Keep in mind, many other grant awards had been made to other grantees since I sent that note. Did it make a difference? What do you think?
So, my question to you is, how can/do you show your gratitude? Funders work hard to create good RFPs and NOFAs. Government agencies and foundations care about the programs they fund and they invest more than their money in your vision. Believe it or not, a letter of gratitude does make a difference but funders rarely receive them.
I challenge you to give great glorious gratitude to your funders big and small, government and private. Send a thank you note to you funders and or post a gratitude for funding video on your website.
So, have you shown your gratitude lately? Please share your stories about giving gratitude, links to thank-you to funder videos and all things giving thanks here, in the comments below.
I want to thank each and every one of our readers and supporters for your encouragement and for our enriching interactions. You guys are the BEST! A big warm eHug and thank you to all.
I wish for you to have abundance and blessings, big and small, in your life, too.