Pour Yourself a Cup of Gratitude

Gracie Herbert
Miami University
Assistant Director of Donor Engagement

 pouring a cup of coffee

Dolly Parton is known for pouring herself a cup of ambition, but I’m here to remind you to pour yourself a cup of gratitude. Gratitude is a word that we as  donor relations professionals understand better than most. November marks a season of focus on gratitude, but as we know, our profession is a never-ending quest to express appreciation. 

As a donor relations professional who is constantly filling others’ cups, I tend to brush off thanks quickly and immediately turn around and thank them. Sound familiar? As the season of giving thanks is upon us, I challenge myself and you to sit with the appreciation your peers provide you and let your cup be filled.

Thanking is not a competition. When gratitude is expressed towards me, I often immediately find a way to thank the other person in return. Although being appreciative of your peers is not a bad thing, learning how to receive compliments and notes of appreciation without immediately thanking the other person is a vital skill to master. Now you might be thinking, “that’s easier said than done,” but it does not have to be. The next time you receive an expression of gratitude I encourage you to slow down, hear the words, repeat the phrase in your head, and not thank the person for something else. Let them know you appreciate hearing their praise, and that you enjoy being able to provide support. Ensure that you have heard their gratitude without entering a competition of who can thank who better! 

One way I have begun to fill my own cup is by keeping a gratitude journal (okay, it’s a Google sheet, but hey, it’s something!). When a staff member thanks me, I add it to my running list of appreciation. When I’m having a down day or feel that I may not be making a difference, I am able to review this appreciation list and remind myself that I am valued. As the holiday season comes and goes, remember that gratitude doesn’t stop because the season is over. Our jobs are gratitude focused all year, and sometimes it becomes exhausting to constantly focus outwards without taking care of ourselves. Hopefully, this article reminds you that you are valuable and appreciated, that you need to take care of yourself year-round, and that you should pour yourself a cup of gratitude every once in a while.


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