2014New Year’s Day 2014 has just arrived.

I’m not a big “make a resolution list” person. I think it’s better to evaluate oneself all through the year.

But what I do like to do is think about what was good about last year, and dream about the New Year ahead. What do I hope to accomplish? Where will I go? What might be my happy achievements?

With my donors, I’m more focused. What do I hope to accomplish overall this year? What are my goals? Where will my donor(s) and I go on the philanthropic path? What do my donors hope to achieve and how might I help them get there?

This year I made a resolution. Tom Ahern handed it to me in his post, “What I learned in 2013.”

“Deliver more gratitude than expected.” 

What is gratitude? Most people use this definition: “A feeling of thankfulness or appreciation.” But I like this better: “Gratitude is paying attention to what we have, rather than what we don’t.”

This is doable. It is easy and yet a challenge. It may be applied to my fundraising and to my work with colleagues. And it works for my personal life too.

If you know me or have read my blog much, you know I believe in gratitude.

This is the perfect resolution for me: Deliver more gratitude than expected. How can you deliver more too?

For donors: Start with appreciation. End with thanks. And liberally sprinkle gratitude in between.

One place to start might be your thank you letters. Check out this link and this and this for tips to improve your thank you letters. And remember it is NOT a process. But it is one of the very early steps on the donor journey – one of the first steps you take together with your donor – so make it memorable.

How about a Thank-A-Thon? Or dip into last November’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival, it was all about Giving Thanks and Gratitude. Or this Pinterest page

Don’t feel that everything has to be overhauled. Take one thing around thanks and improve it for your donors. Then another and another. And why not choose to thank a specific donor every week, above and beyond what you usually do?

For your team: Consider replacing frustration with gratitude. And give more than expected.

Feeling frustrated that you can’t get Marketing team members “on board” with your donor-centered communications needs? Gnashing your teeth because Finance didn’t handle a gift according to the donor intent? Longing for 100% board giving?

Instead of a hostile reaction (or worse, silently seething), professionally work through the differences in search of a solution. Then be on the look out for opportunities to thank your colleagues for a job well done.

Why? Happiness in the workplace increases productivity – and one way to do that is by recognizing achievements of coworkers. It can be as simple as sending a thanks for help to a colleague (even if it is expected) or writing a note of appreciation to leave on the desk – it can be as easy as your pen, a post-it and authentic words of gratitude. Or use an email, a fist-bump, a hat-tip in a meeting or a cup of coffee. There are lots of benefits of the Grateful Workplace.

For your personal life: Lead with gratitude once a day. Then try for more than once.

If you are in a relationship with a partner, you know (or recall) that gratitude plays an integral part of a healthy relationship. John Gottman has proven that couples with a high ratio of positive to negative interactions (5:1 or more) have the highest rates of intact, satisfying marriages (and this goes for committed relationships too!).

There are even benefits – physical, emotional and interpersonal – to keeping a gratitude journal. And if you have young ones in your life, you can teach them the art of gratitude as well.

My plan: I do have a personal goal to go with my resolution: to send a note, an email, make a call, give a hug every day before I sleep – all in the name of gratitude.

New-Year-Resolutions-2014 FPI’ll be making a list of people to thank and seeking on-the-fly opportunities to express my appreciation, and to deliver more gratitude than expected.

What will you be doing in the New Year?

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