Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality. ~Alfred Painter
Who doesn’t like to do things for others? Whether that be helping a neighbor, volunteering in the community or donating money or services, giving is one of the most rewarding things we can do to make a difference in our world. It’s something I personally love to do and I spend much of my time trying to assist as many groups and people in the community as I can, never asking for anything in return. As hard as I try, I am not able to help everyone and it is increasingly harder to determine how to best allocate the time and resources I do have.
The one thing I have begun to notice, and take into account when deciding whether to help someone when they ask, is whether or not they took the time in the past for a simple thank you. It’s something I started noting as my schedule started to become overwhelming and emails started piling up. I want to allocate my time and energy to those that want it and need it the most. How will I, or anyone for that matter, know that an effort is valued and appreciated unless someone says thank you? I don’t mean to imply that everyone should go overboard or out of their way to make an overt gesture, a simple thank you…either via phone, email or even Facebook or twitter is the least that anyone can do to show appreciation. It’s also the easiest way to ensure a continuous working relationship in the future because, in all reality, it is so hard to be a volunteer. Taking time away from family, work or other responsibilities can be taxing on even the most passionate participants and it is vital that they are cultivated and properly thanked for all they do, no matter how big or small.
It’s hard for organizations as well. The current economic environment is not making it easy to bring on new or additional staff and even harder to find reliable volunteers. I have seen this firsthand from many nonprofit and volunteer-run organizations that I have worked with. I have been on both the volunteer and staff side and understand all of the challenges of recruiting and retaining talented volunteers and supporters. In fact, this is why I am so passionate about helping…I understand both sides and always make sure to show my gratitude to the hard working, dedicated staff or organization leaders. That being said, I don’t understand how countless volunteers and advocates in the community still go unrecognized by groups and organizations. If people are not led to believe that their help is appreciated, then they are likely to move on to one of the many groups waiting in the wings, needing their help. These groups and organizations rely heavily on a volunteer’s contacts, resources and, the most valuable and often abused asset…time. A moment of appreciation can lead to a lifetime of devoted service and support. On the flip side, if someone works with you on something, never thanks you and then only surfaces once a year to make sure you are on board to help them again, is that really a relationship worth fostering? Do you feel valued?
We never know when we will need someone or something and we should all strive to say the words “Thank You” not just in these situations, but in our entire life and the way we interact with anyone. If someone is doing their part, whether at work or in the world, thank them.
Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel. ~Author Unknown
This article was written by LIFE+DOG editor Ryan Rice.
To read more from Ryan, visit his blog on our site.