The Power of Gratitude: Amplifying Nonprofit Impact

In a world that moves at lightning speed, the power of gratitude can easily be overlooked. Yet in any nonprofit organization, gratitude is essential to forge strong relationships and fuel community impact.

In the past 8 years, my nonprofit organization, Seeds of Caring, has grown from impacting 200 child participants in year one to over 30,000 last year. We’ve had the incredible privilege of shaping our next generation of kindness-creators, bridge-builders, empathizers, and change-makers. And for this, I sit with immense gratitude. Every good thing that has happened to Seeds of Caring over the past 8 years has had a person behind it — a dedicated volunteer, a generous donor, a hardworking team member, a big-hearted child, and the list goes on. We have taken the time to pause and show thanks for all of these contributions and Seeds of Caring is undoubtedly a stronger organization because of it. 

How does gratitude fuel nonprofit impact? First, nonprofits rely on strong relationships and partnerships with others, be they corporate partners, fellow nonprofits, government agencies and more. By expressing gratitude, we recognize that meeting complex community needs is tough at times and requires collaborative effort — this acknowledgment can inspire continued cooperation. Second, gratitude can help create a positive work culture for staff. Research shows that employees who feel appreciated are happier and more productive. Increased productivity equals increased community impact. Also, gratitude reminds us of something that we tell our child participants frequently at Seeds of Caring: that we all need help sometimes and that we can all give help sometimes. It’s a powerful way to bridge the gap between receivers and givers of service, helping us appreciate the talents and contributions that everyone brings to the table. And finally, when donors and volunteers feel genuinely appreciated for their contributions, nonprofits are more likely to be able to retain this support and drive forward meaningful change in our communities. 

Despite its power, authentic gratitude is not just a switch we can turn on. It takes intentionality to build gratitude into the culture of our nonprofit organizations. At Seeds of Caring, “embrace gratitude” is one of our five core values. It’s woven into everything we do, so much so that when our board of directors knew we were undergoing a CRM transition this spring, the first question they asked me was, “What can we do to show our appreciation to the team?” Anytime a new team member comes on board, we ask them to fill out a survey based on The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Dr. Chapman and Dr. White. We start many team meetings with time for each team member to write a handwritten thank you note to a volunteer, participant, donor, or partner. And in conversations, we reflect on who has helped us arrive where we are today, for it is always a collaborative effort.

If you’ve made it this far, I’m grateful you took the time to read this 🙂 Thank you for all the good work you’re driving forward in our communities. If we all take a few extra minutes to strengthen our practice of gratitude, we might be pleasantly surprised at how this can fuel our continued impact. 

By: Brandy Jemczura, Founder and Executive Director, Seeds of Caring

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