Ep 48: Building a Culture of Gratitude

nonprofits are messy

Expressing gratitude is something that many people only do at certain times a year (if it gets done at all.)

A strong leader builds an organizational culture of gratitude. But how? And when?

In this episode, six Executive Directors – each of them leaders of small-to-midsize organizations and members of the Nonprofit Leadership Lab – highlight the importance of expressing appreciation year round and offer examples of how to do just that.

About My Guests

Debra Porta is Executive Director of Pride Northwest in Portland, Oregon.  Their mission is to encourage and celebrate the positive diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans communities, and to assist in the education of all people through the development of activities that showcase the history, accomplishments, and talents of these communities.

Hermione Malone (PRONOUNCED: her-me-on) serves as Executive Director for Good Work Network, a New Orleans-based small business development and technical assistance provider with a mission of serving as a catalyst for women- and minority-owned business success. Hermione has also worked as a professional journalist for numerous U.S.-based newspapers. The mission of Good Work Network is to serve as a catalyst for minority- and women-owned business success. They help entrepreneurs start, grow and succeed.

Laurie Rovin is Executive Director of A Child’s Haven in Greenville, South Carolina. She was born and raised in Maryland and relocated to Greenville SC in 1992. A Child’s Haven’s mission is to provide treatment to children with developmental delays and behavioral challenges AND support to their families.  

Mary Jacob is Executive Director of Families Helping Families of Jefferson is located in Harahan, Louisiana. Families Helping Families of Jefferson is a family directed resource center connecting and educating parents of children with disabilities and adults with disabilities.  Free of charge, they  teach parents and adults with disabilities how to advocate, navigate support systems, and find joy, hope, and success in spite of challenges.

Kevin Gibbons is the Executive Director and Cofounder of Health Access Connect. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Philippines, 2004-07). Health Access Connect links Ugandans in remote areas with healthcare. They use micro-financed motorcycle taxis to set up monthly one-day clinics in remote villages. It’s their way of providing healthcare while also helping someone to start a small business.

Laura Jaworski is Executive Director of the House of Hope Community Development Corporation in Warwick, Rhode Island. In November 2016, Laura was appointed the second-ever executive director. House of Hope Community Development Corporation  is a non-profit affordable housing and homeless services provider. Founded in 1989 in Warwick, Rhode Island, their mission is to end the personal and social trauma of homelessness.

In this episode:

  • Creating a culture of celebration, communication, gratitude, and appreciation
  • Building non-transactional relationships with donors
  • Acknowledging volunteers by being genuine and prompt
  • Providing tools for colleagues to visibly and pictorially show recognition to each other on a daily basis
  • Providing time off when monetary compensation is limited
  • Sending handwritten notes in addition to electronic thank yous
  • Sharing data with donors to express how meaningful their contributions are
  • Meeting with big donors and staff personally whenever possible
  • Using social media not only to raise funds but to show gratitude and share stories
  • Asking for advice as a means to show gratitude
  • Showing appreciation by being prepared, honest and present
  • Saying something appreciative to each person directly

Episode Links:

Joan Garry
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Joan Garry

Widely known as the "Dear Abby" of nonprofit leadership, Joan works with board and staff as a strategic advisor, crisis manager, change agent and strategic planner. Joan also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on nonprofit communications and leadership.
Joan Garry
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  • Tiffany Melius

    Is there a transcript of this/other podcasts? I am particularly interested in text of the Cheers for Peers program – I have done some research online and I can’t find a description of the program quite like it is described here…