“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.”
Part of the appeal of the holidays is that it is a time for hope. We are all looking forward to quality family time and our holiday traditions, but beyond the parties, presents, and sweet treats that the holidays hold, we have the promise and hope of a clean slate for the next year. Hope is more than the sugar plum pining found in The Night Before Christmas. True hope does not view the future through a gauzy filter. True hope isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty in pursuit of a better future. Scientists and psychologists who study hope say that it has these three basic components:
- Imagining the future can be different from the present—and maybe even better.
- Imagining we can do something about it—we can play a part in creating our future.
- Imagining the pathways it will take to get from the present to the future.
Does that sound familiar? It perfectly describes the important work you do every day as a development professional. Whether you are helping your academic partner articulate their research in a compelling way, witnessing how learning to appropriately accept gratitude can transform the way a clinician practices, or helping donors uncover and realize their philanthropic passions, you are an agent of hope.
Through the power of philanthropy, you are helping grief-stricken parents overcome the loss of their child by offering an active role in advancing research or by expressing their gratitude to the care team who cared for the needs of an entire family during a difficult time. Through the power of philanthropy, you are helping young immigrant students achieve their goal of attaining a college degree—and hurdling barriers in the way of building a better future. Through the power of philanthropy, you are helping your community nonprofit organization ensure every child has mittens, a warm coat, and boots to see them through a cold winter. Through the power of philanthropy, you are helping to build buildings, deliver services, accomplish vital research, and strengthen communities. You are coloring the future with hope.
Too often, those who hope for a better future are often cast as romantic dreamers, but you know firsthand the power of hope. Being an agent of hope does not ignore or downplay the very real challenges humanity faces. Offering hope energizes people to act. No matter how small or large the action, if it is taken in hope, it is a resounding affirmation that we can create a better world, a better future. So in the unwavering spirit of a development professional, may you continue to be the beacon of change, tirelessly spreading awareness, engaging with the community, and embodying the transformative power of hope in every endeavor you undertake. Through offering the hope that philanthropy represents, you are making the world a better place.
“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”