Attitude of Gratitude

By Whitney Claire Thomey

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Top view of diverse young volunteers holding card with Thank you lettering while standing in charitable organization office, Selective focus on hands and inscription, Web Banner

Two humble words, “thank you,” have the power to ground us, build us up, and develop deep, meaningful connections. November in the United States is when many people are reminded to take time to pause and be grateful. However, it’s risky to think that once a year is enough to express your thanks for hardworking staff, generous donors, engaged affiliate members, and tirelessly supportive nonprofit boards.

2020 has been a whirlwind of challenges for all nonprofits, and now, more than ever, it’s essential that leaders reach out to the people who have supported their missions and express sincere thanks. It’s not enough to simply be grateful. The power of gratitude comes when it is shared with those to whom you are thankful. This year, the NRMC team has many reasons to be thankful.

We are deeply grateful to our board members. Nonprofits do not exist without the dedicated guidance and support of boards who volunteer their time to mission-advancing work. Rarely seen publicly, we thank our board for all of the behind-the-scenes work, cheerful enthusiasm, and unwavering support that allows the NRMC team to continue our mission of making risk management accessible to all nonprofits. As we celebrate our board, we also pause to remember a board member we lost in 2020. David Szerlip was more than a visionary leader who dedicated his professional life to helping nonprofits navigate the sometimes confusing and murky waters of the insurance industry; he was a friend, a trusted advisor, and a tireless champion of our mission.

The NRMC team thanks all of the stakeholders who helped make our 2020 Virtual Risk Summit possible! Each of the Risk Summit Partners (Great American Insurance Group-Specialty Human Services, 501(c) Agencies Trust, AHT Insurance, Care Providers Insurance Services, Chubb, First Nonprofit, GRF CPAs & Advisors, HUB International Limited, Munich RE Specialty Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, and Szerlip & Co.) gave their generous support and dedication to the Risk Summit and embraced this year’s format. Their continued championship allowed more participants than ever to take advantage of this risk education and networking event!

We are grateful that over 45 volunteer faculty members dedicated their time to contribute thought-provoking sessions and spark candid conversations with fellow attendees during the 2-day virtual conference experience. Takeaways from the conference have such a long-lasting impact on nonprofit leaders and risk champions as they build risk management capabilities at all of their organizations. To all the conference attendees, the NRMC team thanks you for engaging with one another to foster a sense of community and support during a time when so many feel isolated. Without this exceptional community, we could not have put on such a successful conference under the challenging pandemic circumstances.

Finally, we thank our Corporate Advisory Committee (CAC), chaired by Kevin Duke of Great American Insurance Group-Specialty Human Services, for the insights and support they have provided our team throughout the year. This group of individuals has shown their dedication to advancing the risk management discipline through the valuable insights they provided NRMC for several resources featured in our eNews archives. The inspiration our for-profit colleagues provided on the assessment of the nonprofit risk landscape was an invaluable resource. It enabled our team to design, plan, and develop new resources and services for the sector. We look forward to the continued development of our relationship with CAC members.

We urge you to take a moment during this season of Thanksgiving to make a deliberate effort to examine who you are grateful for and the value they have brought to your nonprofit. This simple gesture has the power to strengthen relationships, boost productivity, and foster cohesion among teams. Is forgetting to say, “Thank you” a risk you’re willing to take?

Whitney Thomey is Project Manager at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Whitney welcomes your comments and questions about gratitude, at 703.777.3504 or Whitney@