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The Season for Thanks - a note from our CEO

As the weather turns cooler and the leaves begin to drop, I always try to take some time off from the constant stream of news and information that is constantly coming at me, and spend some time reflecting on the things that I'm truly thankful for. Sometimes, especially given the current state of affairs this season, this can feel a lot like... exercise. What if I miss something? What if everything changes when I'm not paying attention? What if, what if, what if?

Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), this has never actually happened. Indeed, the world always continues to spin, news always continues to happen, and nothing major seems to change overnight. Apparently, my inattention to the news has zero effect on the bigger picture, what a relief! With that in mind, I chose to dedicate my mental energy in November and December to gratitude. The first week was mostly a detox; it is surprisingly difficult to avoid clicking those juicy headlines, or opening my News app for a quick update! After the first week, things began to normalize and I could focus more on my actual intention of feeling grateful. I decided to make a list of a few the things that I'm most thankful for to share with the world (the FundRaiser blog reading world, that is). Without further ado, here's a very partial list in no particular order of the things I am grateful for every single day.

{Today.} Yep, I'm grateful just to wake up - even when it is dark and dismal outside and I really, really want to snuggle deeper into the covers and cuddle with my cats, I'm grateful to still be here and to be able to experience this day. I know that tomorrow is never guaranteed, and so I am grateful for today, whatever it may bring.

{Family.} I'm lucky to have a large, wonderful family - both chosen and given. I know that not everyone is so fortunate, and my heart aches for those who feel that they have no family, or who are estranged from theirs. My family is my lifeline; when I'm feeling down, or scared, or worried, I know that I can reach out to any one of them and that they would do anything they could to help, even if that just means listening to me whine for a while. They have always believed me to be much more capable than I actually feel, and so I have always worked hard to live up to their expectations. They make me work to be a better person every single day - I can't imagine who I would be without their support and love. (Bonus item - I'm about to become a first-time grandma and am SO excited for that experience!)

{Community.} I live in a town of around 12,000 people in Southern Missouri, and we are a hundred miles from the next largest city. Like many small communities all across America, ours has been hit hard by layoffs and factory closures, and yet, we continue to come together to support each other in ways that strike me as wholly unique. Our local restaurants hold winter clothing drives and offer discounts to customers who bring donations; our nonprofit Boards are brimming with qualified, capable people who gladly volunteer their time to make this community stronger; when someone steps up to ask for help with clothes or food or money, which is a very difficult thing to do, the call is immediately answered. This community holds so many benefit auctions, chili suppers, and donation drives that sometimes the bulletin boards are covered with flyers just for benefit fundraisers. Everyone in this small town is a neighbor, and we take care of our neighbors.

{Health.} Kind of a gimme, to be sure, but I would be remiss if I failed to be grateful for my health! I sleep reasonably well, often walk or jog to the office, am capable of doing (or learning to do) any physical activities that interest me, cook most of my meals at home, do not have any chronic pain or discomfort, am free of cancer and heart disease... I don't have to be health or fitness gurus to feel enormous gratitude for my relative good health. I promise myself that I will continue to take care of this body that has served me so well so that I can put "Health" on my gratitude list every single year.

{Work.} I have the best job working with the best people supporting the best customers. Yes, it can be... challenging to run a small business that relies on the success of mostly small nonprofits in order to survive, particularly in times of economic uncertainty, and I admit that sometimes I feel like giving up and finding something easier to do. But, every single time I start to feel despondent, I have a conversation with one of my customers and am quickly reminded of why this matters: we need these organizations! Our customers are the lifeline to this beautiful country that we live in. Without the tireless and often thankless effort of our nonprofit organizations, where would the homeless family turn when they need a warm bed? Where would the victim of domestic abuse turn when they need respite? Where would the kids whose parents can't afford daycare go after school? Who would organize aid when disasters strike? Who would look after the abused and abandoned animals left to fend for themselves in the streets? I know the people who do this - I get to help them every single day. I am so incredibly lucky to be able to do what I do. I can't think of anything else this rewarding.

{Work Family.} This is a little bit of a combo item since I already mentioned both work and family, but I've been working with these folks for years. We are family. We might be a small company, but what we lack in numbers, we make up for in effort and productivity. Together, our team of fewer than ten people work hard every day to support our thousands of customers! This isn't a glitzy tech job. It doesn't come with a "campus" or a fancy employee cafe (but we do have a rotating cast of irresistible kittens around and a gorgeous office cat - beat that, Google), but I guarantee that our small team is made up of higher caliber employees than any of the big dogs! This team is hard working, dedicated, honest, reliable, and smart. We are a team of rockstars, and I don't know how we got so lucky to find such wonderful employees, but I am grateful for them every single day.

{You.} If you're reading this, you are a part of the FundRaiser Family. Your time and attention is valuable - thank you for spending some of it with us! I and the whole team at FundRaiser Software wish you the happiest Thanksgiving and the warmest holidays and the best New Year on the books!

Warmly,

Autumn Shirley

CEO

FundRaiser Software

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