Tag Archives: gift giving

Gifts that keep on giving

Holiday giving,  holiday gifts, nonprofit, gift givingLet the holiday season begin! Thanksgiving ushers in six weeks of busyness as we reunite with family and friends for dinners, parties, and holidays such as Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This is a time of gift giving. In addition to daily business and family activities our minds find time to weigh questions such as “What would my children enjoy?” and “When should I order the turkey?” and, of course, “How can I give to all the people I love without going broke?”In the midst of all this holiday activity comes the busy season for nonprofit fundraising. Some organizations and institutions encourage us to give before the year-end to take advantage of tax benefits, while others offer opportunities to remember those who are less fortunate. Still others invite us to imagine new expressions and manifestations of the arts, leadership, education, and science.

If you can take a moment to escape the hustle and bustle of the season you may find a way to combine celebrations, gift giving and support for nonprofits that are important to you and your family. You can put the busyness of the season in perspective by spending the afternoon with your children volunteering at a local hospital, food bank, senior center, or veterans home. When considering what to give, consider underwriting a child’s pre-K education by giving to a program that had their funds cut this year. You’ll be giving a gift that will make an impact for a lifetime. You can make that gift in honor of a family member. Other ideas include purchasing gloves or socks in bulk to give to people who are homeless in your community. Spend an afternoon making tasty sandwiches and share them with people who are hungry.

Talk with your faith leader, college representative or another trusted person “in-the-know” to find out which out-of-state (or out-of-country!) college students need a home for the holidays and open your home and heart. If your neighbor is in need, consider purchasing a gift card she can use at a local grocery store. This is an ideal time for a gift to the food bank.

Gifts to scholarship funds are easily made on-line and are more important than ever as so many students are losing access to Parents PLUS loans. Give to help those half-way around the world by supporting victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. If you are thinking of purchasing a pet for your child, consider adopting one from your local nonprofit animal rescue or ASPCA. Many nonprofits publish beautiful calendars – consider giving one as a gift. Purchase your Christmas tree from a nonprofit and holiday cards from UNICEF.

Most importantly, sit down as a family and share the gratitude you experience. Then find a way to give in ways that speak to your hearts.

Photo Credit: Nonprofit Hub

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Gifts for those who have everything

Barnardo's Giving Tree  (Photo credit: Eversheds LLP)

It’s the holiday season, time for us to reach out to those we know, love and  respect offering
gifts as a token of our feelings. Some of us get creative, finding the perfect gift. Others of us
struggle, uncertain as to what would be the right gift. Some of us are fortunate enough to have the challenge of finding the right gift for the person who has everything.

If you are in one of the latter two groups, don’t worry: we have the answer. Give to a nonprofit  organization. Not just any nonprofit, but one that you know your friend, family member or colleague believes in. If you’ve been listening throughout the year you may have heard her talk about the American Cancer Society, her serving as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, or volunteering at a scholarship fundraiser for her sorority. Maybe she serves on the board of the
YMCA. Perhaps she is on the advisory council for an industry-wide job training center. Does she read to children as part of a local literacy program? Serve as a soccer coach?

What about the hard-to-please men on your list? Do they volunteer as mentors? Advocate for marriage equality? Volunteer as a driver for meals on wheels? Coach football, basketball or soccer? Are they proud of their alma mater? Committed to their church, mosque or synagogue? Maybe there’s a man in your life who gives his time to saving the snow tiger in India, or the marshlands of the gulf.

Your reflections will help you come up with the right nonprofit to match with each “person who has everything” on your list.

If you don’t know which organization your family members or friends are committed to think about what you know of their interests and passions. Are they artists or art connoisseurs, outdoors enthusiasts, athletes, theatre buffs? There is a nonprofit for everyone.

When you honor someone with a gift to a nonprofit we recommend you take steps to make sure that your wishes are fulfilled. Here are our recommendations. Call the nonprofit and ask if they have a program for accepting “honorary” gifts. Ask what you need to do in order to ensure a note
or card is sent to the person you are honoring, communicating that you have made a gift in their honor. This is important to do when giving to small, local or grassroots organizations. Larger organizations often have such processes already in place. You can typically find the information
on their “donate” webpage.

Giving to a nonprofit in honor of someone you love or respect has multiple benefits. You show you are aware of what’s important to your family member or colleague. You are contributing to a cause that will continue beyond the holiday season. You can give again for the person’s birthday. You can stay out of the mall, and wait until the last minute to “shop.”