How a tiny idea from a small dog evolved to have big impacts
It’s hard to believe that our annual Graceful Giving celebration has been happening for nearly ten years. While some things about this pro bono leadership development opportunity have changed, many important aspects have remained constant.
It all started as a quirky birthday celebration for Grace, founder Robin Eichert’s adopted dog. Since Grace was rescued by an amazing non-profit, the idea was to honor the kinds of organizations that lift up our communities every day.
Since that first spark, Graceful Giving has developed into a valuable offering that celebrates not just Grace’s legacy, but the many amazing people involved in managing non-profit organizations across the country.
Back to the beginning
In its first year in 2016, the Graceful Giving program was designed as a contest, engaging friends, colleagues, and the greater community in donating to their favorite non-profits in Grace’s honor. It was intended to help non-profits gain exposure to new audiences and receive new donations. The organization that received the most funding was also gifted a specialized training session with PeopleSense.
That year, the largest number of donations went to The River Center in Peterborough, New Hampshire and their staff received a half-day, team-building workshop entitled Graceful Leadership: Building Respectful Relationships. All these years later, Everything DiSC® remains embedded in their team approach to onboarding and working effectively with one another.
The River Center and its supporters were trendsetters because of their enthusiastic participation in the first ever Graceful Giving celebration. Since then, nearly 70 individuals and 14 non-profit organizations have been Graceful Giving recipients.
How the celebration has grown
Over the years, we moved from a contest approach to application-based selection. It was fun to get the engagement for donations, but we didn’t want this program to add more work to the plates of non-profit managers!
During the last decade, we’ve also changed up the content, using Everything DiSC Workplace for self-awareness and building healthy relationships, then ‘Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team’ for executive leadership and staff teaming effectiveness, and most recently the Management Module of Everything DiSC.
Perhaps the biggest change took place in 2022, when we moved from hosting a single non-profit to bringing together a cohort of six unique individuals from separate organizations, from New England to Colorado. None had met each other before, but they quickly found collaborative ways to learn and support each other. It was heartening to see the process and commitment from each of them.
The goodness of giving back
For our team at PeopleSense Consulting, the feedback received from participants has always been the highest reward of this donated work. Hearing how it makes a difference in both individual careers and organizations is inspiring.
But another fantastic outcome was being named a finalist in the Small Company category for Workplace in the New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility Sustainability Slam. The event recognizes ideas—big and small—of companies that do “Just One Thing” towards sustainability best practices.
Some things stay the same
Though Graceful Giving has evolved in a number of exciting ways, the key premise behind it remains the same. Non-profits still struggle to find the budget for important professional development programs. Our wish for them is that funding sources become more readily available. The individuals who give their heart and soul to these organizations are just as deserving as their corporate counterparts for this kind of critical programming.
Each and every year, we have been witness to dedicated, mission-driven individuals that want to do more and do it better. And experiencing that level of commitment has been so enriching for our team. It’s also a reminder of how a small spark of an idea can evolve into something that ripples well beyond the initial imagination.
We can’t wait to see what next year brings!
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