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Finding Gratitude in 2020



I don't know about you, but in the midst of one of the most challenging years of our lives, I'm leaning in to the thankful season! Now more than ever it's important to focus on the positive, so this week I asked my team to share what they're most thankful for. I hope their answers will inspire you to approach the remainder of 2020 from a place of gratitude. Write down what you're thankful for—make it an exhaustive list that includes every little thing that makes you smile and your heart sing. Read it every day. Re-read it on the extra tough days. And always remember that we're in this together.


Lynne Wester

I am thankful for the way many organizations have adapted their practices to best meet the needs of donors during these difficult times. It is inspiring to see the creativity and the abandonment of some of the red tape that existed previously.


I am thankful for technology that allows us to connect near and far. Whether it is Facetiming with my mom and dad or connecting with my team over zoom for a good laugh or even a phone call with a client, I'm happy we are connected and grateful to those that make it possible.


I am thankful that despite challenges, we have been supported by so many of you. Whether it was adopting ODDER to deliver your reports to donors, trusting us on webinars and counting on us for consulting, our fundraising community really showed up for this small business. Grateful.


Jan McGuire

During this year of uncertainty, I am more thankful than ever for the many things that I have: my health, family, friends, a home, a job, food to eat and wine to drink – just to name a few! Instead of focusing on what we can’t do and where we can’t go during this holiday season, I’m choosing to focus on all that I have to enjoy.

I am thankful for the new opportunities that have come my way this year. If you had said the word “ODDER” to me a year ago, I would’ve assumed you meant an otter! Being part of a new product from its inception to its launch has been an interesting and unique experience during 2020!

I am always thankful for fond memories. My father would often include being thankful “for the precious gift of memory” in a blessing before a big family meal during the holidays. That in itself is a fond memory since his passing in 2012. Memories of family events, travel with friends, and good times in general remind us that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed no matter the circumstances.


Sarah Sims

We all know 2020 was challenging on every single front—no aspect of our lives was untouched this year. But in that challenge lies many silver linings...if we look for them.


I, for one, am eternally grateful for the ways in which this year brought my family closer. We would never have had this much time at home, cooking together, watching movies, walking endless miles, and generally having "family time" without forced quarantine and social distancing. While it's hard on everyone to be so isolated, we have had such an amazing time together. We will never have this opportunity again.


I am also so thankful for my work team. They showed up and performed in ways that brought me great pride this year - as well and comfort and peace. They adapted, produced, communicated and generally surpassed every daunting circumstance with ease and grace. We learned a lot about ourselves and our work this year—including just how adaptable we can be and how adopting technology and the digital space has actually enhanced our work.


My word for 2020 has been GRACE. I try to demonstrate it every day, it has been extended to me, and our donors have it in spades for us right now. There are many silver linings to this catastrophic year—they can be found hand in hand with the grace we demonstrate others, as well as ourselves.


Angie Joens

I am grateful for the grit and resilience of my family, friends, university leadership, colleagues, team members, students, faculty, staff and our donors. We all have faced small and large challenges this year. We have been stretched. We have been pushed around. We have had to change, adapt, and change again. Just when we thought we had it all figured out we had to zig or zag—sometimes at the same time. When one of us was down someone would come in at the perfect moment and lift us up with a kind word, a virtual hug, a well planned zoom happy hour. Through it all we kept moving forward. We remembered what was important. We stayed the course. We were successful. We failed. We tried new things. We learned new skills. We laughed. We cried. We created change. We challenged systems and ideas. We lost important people. It was hard and we dreamed of "the old days" yet we kept going and redefined what works now. I am grateful for each of you and how you persevered. Thank you for being "all in"—you inspire me!


I am also grateful for all the things I have learned (relearned) this year. I had to learn how to manage my teams remotely. I had to learn new technology so I could do my job. I had to learn (and create) new work systems and processes. I figured out how to launch a comprehensive campaign virtually. I listened to podcasts, watched documentaries, attended webinars focused on DEI. I learned how to exercise with a mask on. I learned how dependent I am on people and that I need personal connections. I learned how important it is for my soul to spend time outdoors. I learned how much I love to cook and bake. I learned how much I love my home. I learned how DIY projects are better done by professionals. :)


Most importantly, I learned that people are great and life is long and that we are in it all together.


Matthew Helmer

2020 sure has provided plenty of tests to our resolve and ability to remain rooted in gratitude. Yet, in its uniqueness I have found many reasons to be thankful.


The resilience, positivity and ingenuity of my team. In a time rife with uncertainty and even fear, innovation and adaptability coursed throughout the team around me. All of us learned new skills and some embraced entirely new roles — even discovering new professional passions along the way. It was all in the spirit of keeping the donor experience alive, and for this I am grateful.


I’m also thankful for the lessons I’ve learned (and continue to learn) from the way 2020 has reframed so much of our lives and our work. I am still working on what I think is the biggest of them all — to slow down, to center on what are truly the most important things in life. The opportunity to spend more time with my family, even on hectic days that offered little more than “hallway conversations,” has been a fortuitous gift from a most unexpected year.


Healthcare professionals, educators, grocery store and restaurant workers, delivery drivers, scientists. Thank you. You all are the true heroes of 2020.


And I am grateful for yoga pants — the popular and versatile 2020 addition to my professional wardrobe lineup that greatly enhanced my positive outlook on a daily basis. 😁


What are you thankful for? Please share in the comments below. We'd love to spread some positivity throughout our DRG community!


Cheers, and stay safe!

The DRG Group

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