With little time left before Santa arrives and many of us caught up in the hustle and bustle of gift giving, I’m making a special exception to my guest blogger guidelines and posting an amazing article by Maggie Keenan of givingadvice - You’ll find resourceful strategies to Give Back while doing some last minute holiday shopping. Enjoy! ~MaryPat
5 Steps to Give Meaning to Giving this Holiday Season
As the holidays approach once again, we fret and frantically rush and fight traffic to get presents for family, friends and co-workers. We make our list, some people are a lot harder than others to buy for—so we wind up with last minute shopping. Although, some of us have gotten a bit wiser and shop on-line right from the comfort of our home. Nevertheless, we still feel obligated to attend holiday cocktail get-togethers, progressive dinners, office parties and other functions, leaving little time to reflect on what we are buying or why we are REALLY going to parties.
This year, dare to do things a little different. Make this year’s season with all your giving of presents and time more meaningful. Here are some ways to do things different and make a difference at the same time.
- Think about your Holiday gift giving list and the individuals on it and ask yourself, “What are some of the issues each person cares about? What is important to them? Maybe someone wants to see a world without hunger, or another is concerned about literacy issues or finding a cure for a disease. Take a moment to create a list where each person is matched to a cause that you know they are passionate about. For the past few years, I’ve stopped buying presents for a few friends who I know are agriculturally-conscious. Instead they get a Share of Sheep, a Flock of Chicks from Heifer International. It feels great to give a gift that my friends like, that provides a better life for a family, and makes me feel like I helped to make a difference. You can visit them at www.heifer.org.
- Send only holiday gift cards that benefit a charity. Most nonprofits have special holiday donation cards.
- Skip out on the office party this year or forgo the progressive dinner. Suggest to co-workers or friends to take that time and volunteer to wrap presents for a local organization that will give families in need gifts or perhaps, offer to deliver a meal to seniors, or help to serve at a holiday breakfast. Better yet, if you enjoy the festivities of holiday parties, consider making your office party one that makes a difference and gives back to a cause. There’s a great reason to attend!
- Shop on-line for gifts that support a cause. I mentioned in a previous ezine about Up Town Liz. I love this website as it offers special products that are great for gift giving while giving back at the same time. Visit www.uptownliz.com.
- Lastly, resolve to make next year one that you will give a little more than you did this year. Increase it by just two percent. A company can have staff volunteer as a group at a charitable event—and wear your company t-shirts. If one of your resolutions is to take up exercise, consider training for a run that supports a charity. A few friends of mine recently took golf lessons— we wanted to learn golf and enter next year’s 24 Wishes in 24 Hours for Make A Wish Foundation.
Remember, the season is about giving. Make this year one where you give meaning to it.
Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D. is the Owner & Chief Giving Strategist of givingadviceTM dedicated to providing strategic philanthropy services to small business. Through givingadviceTM, Maggie guides businesses through a Six Step Giving IMPACT Strategy modelTM to provide a blueprint and giving strategy that is unique for each client. She knows that businesses can make stronger and synergistic connections between their business and causes. Clients are most attracted by her passion and vision for what she sees possible for their contribution to the world. With an uncanny ability to connect ideas, people and causes, Maggie sees opportunities all around for anyone that desires to be a force for change and businesses can play a role in that change.
Posted with permission. Copyright © 2007. Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D. All rights reserved.