By Kristen Seeber
Women’s Fund of Smith County
Without question, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. My birthday falls near this date every year, so my family believes that is the reason I claim it as my favorite. Aside from having an extra occasion to celebrate, though, I love Thanksgiving because it is a holiday of pure intent. There are no gifts to buy, no real pressure to decorate and no feeling of hustle and bustle. This day is simply a time to gather and to give thanks.
Sometimes it seems Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday – lost between jack-o’-lanterns and mistletoe. Trees are up earlier every year and decorated before the Halloween candy is eaten and gone. So when we find that Thursday in November, it is nice and even calming to sit down with friends and family and count our blessings.
Thank you – words which cannot be said, or heard often enough. They are the two most important words in philanthropy. Relationships are at the center of any giving experience. There is a sense of connection between the giver and the receiver of the gift. While most of us do not give to be recognized, it nevertheless matters to know the gift has meaning. Research shows that promptly and properly thanking donors not only shows appreciation for their generosity but can also deepen the connection and increase future giving.
Once people realize how grateful we are for them and for their gift, they open up, provide insight as to why they give and why they would give again. We learn from that exchange, as the relationship is strengthened and nurtured. It can be the difference between reaching and exceeding goals, the difference between helping a few and helping many.
Giving comes from a place of gratitude. Each of us has a cup which is filled, emptied and filled again, as we give to and receive from others along life’s daily path. I have tried to teach our boys to look at their cup as neither half full nor half empty, but as running over with goodness. This picture reminds me of the cornucopia or horn of plenty, a symbol of abundance and nourishment. Often a centerpiece on a Thanksgiving table, its contents overflow reminding those sitting around it of the bounty of blessings.
A thankful heart is a giving heart. Expressing gratitude can take many forms – a personal note, a kind word, a thoughtful gesture. A sincere thank you is never lost or forgotten. The thanks in giving is easy to find and is something to remember and to celebrate each and every day.
Kristen Seeber serves as president of the Women’s Fund of Smith County. The mission of this collective giving circle is to leverage the philanthropic capacity of women as a catalyst for positive change. Members annually pledge financial gifts which result in high-impact grants to better the lives of Smith County women and children. The Women’s Fund welcomes new members; visit www.womensfundsc.org for details on membership, events and outreach.