Are Nonprofits Best at Showing Grant-Related Gratitude?

December 12, 2011 | By Adrianne Fielding | Post a Comment

As the end of the year rapidly approaches (much to Congress’ dismay), I’ve continued to do a lot of thinking about gratitude and grant-related work. I came across a couple of blog posts on the topic from two terrific grant professionals that I have the good fortune to know.

April Northstrom encourages organizations to express the gratitude they have for donors, volunteers and funders.

Betsy Baker reminds us that social media can be used to thank funders.

And Nathaniel Goetz from the Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation, who was busy writing personal thank-you letters to the foundation’s donors, had this to say in response to my post:

Giving thanks and gratitude to those who support our mission and believe in the positive impact we are having in people’s lives is of special meaning to nonprofits, especially this holiday season. Indeed, as reported by the Wall Street Journal just this morning [Nov. 28], support for our sector has noticeably declined. From 2008-2010, overall giving to nonprofits dropped 4.2% while during that same period gifts made by foundation fell by 4.1%. While these may not seem like very large numbers, their impact can still seriously impede the invaluable work in which we are engaged. Yet, even in such a lean time, being mindful of what we have, what we are able to accomplish and who is responsible for those blessings is invaluable. Our donors are who make our work possible and are our greatest asset. Whether it is their time, talent or treasure that they give so selflessly, giving thanks to them should always be our top priority, regardless of the time of year.

All three of these folks clearly consider the expression of gratitude to be an important (best?) practice for the grant work they do.  And interestingly, all of their comments are about or directed to nonprofits, which begs at least couple of  questions.  Are nonprofits better at saying “thank you?” Is there a greater need for nonprofits to say it?

Maybe my search for examples of gratitude just wasn’t broad enough.  Do other types of grant recipients express gratitude differently? What about funders? Donors? The beneficiaries of grant-funded activities? This former academic needs more data points!

(Photo credit: Cieleke/stock.xchng)


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