November 2022 - In Service: The Column of the ADRP President

Cheryl Smith Lintner

Executive Director, Donor Relations

Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation

November is National Gratitude Month in the U.S. but every month is gratitude month for donor relations professionals, right? It’s what we do best. Let me tell you a story (‘cause that’s what I do). A few years ago I was asked to lead a gratitude exercise at a staff retreat. I really wanted to show not only what it feels like to receive gratitude but to also give it. I handed out blank thank-you cards and instructed everyone to take ten minutes to write a thank-you note expressing gratitude to a colleague in the room. We talked about how it felt to receive a thank-you note (good, right?), but also how it felt to write them. Many of us were surprised that writing them felt good, too! All smiles. 

The next day, I delivered the notes, including one I wrote to a colleague named Jim. I didn’t know Jim well, but I did notice that he always made it a point to publicly acknowledge when someone helped him or did something amazing. So my note thanked Jim for that — for taking the time to recognize greatness and compassion in others. Jim showed up in my office the next day and thanked me for the thank-you note. He shared that it’s really important to him to give kudos to others, and he was so touched that I noticed he did that. And again, we both felt good. We were both all smiles. And that sentiment continued over the next few days in the office — colleagues thanking each other for thanking each other. It was really great to witness how a very small thing could have such a profound impact for both the receiver and the giver.

If you’re looking for more information about why expressing gratitude is good for both you and the recipient, check out A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik.






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