From Gratitude, All Else Grows
Stop. Think about this for a second...
Take a moment to read through all the various thoughts, opinions, and articles about nonprofits and you'll find abundant encouragement to grow your audience, grow your funding, and grow your capacity.
It is right that we spend time considering all we have and all we've done. At least for a moment...
I think about that experience all nonprofit leaders face when a new board member asks an obvious question that has been tackled in the past. We think, if only for a second, "You should have seen how it was before!"
The new board member wants to push forward and seems not to have an understanding of how far we've come.
That's just the way it is and it's not wrong... The new board member doesn't have the experiencial memory of earlier conditions... They only know the way it is now and can see the way it could be. Always forward is a well worn mantra.
Let's dedicate time to express gratitude for all we have now.
We should already be good at expressing our gratitude for donors and if you're not, shame on you. Here are some other ideas...
Show genuine gratitude for your volunteers. In my travels, I find I am moved by small history museums with one passionate volunteer more than I am by large institutions and huge unseen collections. (Shout out to the Ontanogon History Museum)
Show gratitude for your visitors. Those people who are not part of an event, or school group, or education program, but simply thought to stop by and visit.
Show gratitude for your front line and lowest paid employees. They bear the brunt of both demanding crowds and numbing boredom. Standing in front of them once a year and saying, "You're the most important employees here..." is not from your heart and they'll see right through it thinking, "Then, why don't I make more money?"
In the end, you MIGHT be remembered for the job you did, but you'll be VALUED by how you treated people. Show them you are grateful for their efforts and begin to make time to do it on a regular basis.