I listened to a podcast recently that one of the participants defined grace, as “not saying what you shouldn’t say”. She expressed that grace is to recognize when you are about to say something hurtful – and you don’t say it.
Oh my goodness! There are so many times I could have used grace in that way. Instead, I let my emotions take over and the words blurted out. As soon as the words came out – I regretted it, but it was too late.
I now try to make a conscious effort to pause before saying something that I know may be hurtful. I may think it – but I won’t say it. There are still times I fail. It takes practice.
I also think that grace is saying things you should say. In particular, to express the thoughts and feelings related to compassion and empathy.
I love you.
I understand what you are going through.
How can I help you?
I know you are doing the best that you can.
I am so grateful.
The more we exercise our grace by verbally expressing our personal compassion and empathy, the more intuitive we will be with our donors. Not everyone can easily express his or her thoughts and emotions. Sometimes they need help. But we can’t help others, until we master it ourselves.
Make a conscious effort every day to practice grace – both by not saying what is hurtful and, by verbally expressing your compassion and your empathy. You’ll find that it eases your mind and spirit and nurtures your intuition to recognize grace in others.
I recently came across an article that describes compassion as a way to open our attention and make it more inclusive, transforming the way we view the world and ourselves. But how do we bring that into our daily lives? I’ve been practicing mindfulness for many years and I emphasize practicing because it is a challenge to bring calmness to the chaos in the mind to feel present. When you experience that feeling of presence, you definitely see the world differently and with compassion. For me, it provides me the insight when I am faced with a challenge particularly when the challenge involves personal relationships. I am able to recognize how we all get caught up very easily in focusing on ourselves and us vs. them. Compassion is understanding that we are all connected and it begins with kindness to ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves so that when we are faced with challenges, we don’t allow the negativity to consume us. Self-care allows transformation in many ways. My self-care regimen includes meditation, journaling, exercise, and a focus on gratitude. Even in the worst of times, there has to be one thing you can be grateful for. It might be a hug from someone you love or a cup of coffee because if you’re like me – you can’t function in the morning until that cup of coffee.
What does this all have to do with fundraising? We cannot fundraise unless we have compassion. Not only for the people we serve but our organization as a whole. Nonprofit work is difficult with lower salaries and long hours but we must be united in our mission and understand every individual plays a role in our success. Compassion starts internally and then will be expressed to our donors, which they see as passion. I have had many donors say how obvious my passion is. That gets them excited and they want to join in because they feel the connection. It’s the connection that you must focus on. It is not me – not you – but us. We are all one. When we treat our donors with compassion, we can transform the world together.