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  • Writer's pictureFrances Roen

5 Ways to Get and Give a GRATITUDE boost this holiday season

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. – William Arthur Ward

The development profession is not that different from the retail profession when it comes to planning for the holiday season.


Fundraisers often begin thinking about and planning for year-end giving in late summer and early fall. In addition to the more standard year-end direct mail appeals, most organizations participate in one or more additional year-end fundraisers like an annual event, a special online giving day, or a donation drive.


It’s easy to forget—with such jam-packed personal and work “to-do” lists this time of year—the impact gratitude can have.


Did you know that expressing gratitude is associated with a host of mental and physical benefits? Studies by the Mayo Clinic have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood and immunity.


In short, the thank you is equally as important as that direct mail appeal - not just for your organization, but also for your own personal health.

Here are five ways that you can get and give a GRATITUDE BOOST this holiday season:


  1. Make a list of what you are thankful for at your job and post it on your computer or desk. When your day starts to feel chaotic or overwhelming seeing this reminder can help you reframe all sorts of situations.

  2. Carve out an hour this week to update your donor thank you notes. Are your standard thank you notes a bit stale? Spice them up a bit. We’ve got a whole list of ideas to get you started.

  3. Show gratitude to your donors in a new way. Send a thank you text, make a quick video and post it on social media, pen a hand-written note, share a list on social media of the things you have because of your donors (instead of what you want/need), send a box of donuts to one of your partners. You might be surprised at how much fun (and how fulfilling) it is to do something a little different.

  4. Host a gratitude event. Every event doesn’t have to be a fundraiser. Invite your partners, donors, and supporters to a celebration at a coffee shop, brewery, or park and say “thank you”. Provide a free drink (or just a coupon), roast hotdogs (or s’mores), give out a little token (or just a hug) - make it a celebration of gratitude. It’s fun and it makes everyone feel good!

  5. Say “thank you”. End every phone call, every interaction with your donors, colleagues, and clients with an expression of gratitude. Saying the words “thank you” releases dopamine and serotonin - enhancing our mood immediately, making us (and others) feel happy from the inside.

Gratitude is a powerful tool in your toolbox. Gratitude reinforces generosity from the giver and from the receiver. When we openly display gratitude in our relationships, both people are more likely to repeat the giving, and the open-hearted receiving. Most importantly, the more space gratitude takes up in your life, the more it expands and cultivates change from person-to-person and out into our world.


Now that’s something to be thankful for.

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