Celebrate is one of my core values. It is hard to carve out moments in a day to celebrate when you feel the urgency of moving on to the next task. The emojis in zoom don’t cut it, and I’m not really interested in a high-five being all we do to acknowledge an accomplishment.
In a development team there are regular reasons to celebrate, but it often goes unnoticed, so I suggest a gong. When I worked at Social Advocates for Youth, it started with our fundraising accomplishments: when we earned a grant or a donor made a big gift, we hit it and everyone could tell we were sustaining the mission with the generosity from the community.
Soon enough, the spirit of celebrating expanded. We finished the audit: gong! We scheduled a big meeting: gong! And then it got really good: we celebrated with the kids. Working with the resilient kids at Social Advocates for Youth both lifted my soul and broke my heart on a daily basis. When they persevered to overcome a challenge or accomplish something I was inspired.
A young man who spent his tweens in a gang got his first job: gong! A young woman who was so afraid to speak in front of others gave a beautiful presentation to a group of 25: gong! A kid got a job: gong! The same kid kept that job: gong! A 21 year old graduated high school: gong!
This was powerful because the administrative side of the building and the programmatic side of the building came together weekly to see the work we were doing. It united the organization. Ever since, I’ve had a gong at every job.
Hitting the gong to celebrate a milestone while at the SAY Dream Center.
Hitting the gong to celebrate raising $1M for Second Harvest’s Virtual Race to End Hunger. Sometimes confetti helps, too.