To follow up on last week’s Cyber Monday post, here’s an interesting article from The Future Buzz. Here’s an excerpt:
At my last company, my group had a slew of vendors and we received all sorts of gifts during the holidays – wine, branded shirts, “towers” of goodies, and so on. We gave most of it out around the office and some went to the landfill. The only gift I remember from those years was from a small agency, Swirl, that gave us the opportunity to donate, on their dime, to one of a few charities — it’s 10 years later and I’m still talking about them. No doubt, some of the gifts and incentives companies are giving away this year are really cool (feel free to send that extra iPad my way), but we all know far too much of it goes to waste – literally. And the recipient probably won’t tell his friends about the fruit basket.
Charitable gift cards have meaning for the recipient, change lives for the better, strengthen a company’s image, and won’t fill up landfills. Some of the best alternatives:
- The Glue Network: recipient chooses among humanitarian projects in nine categories. Uniqueness: offers broad choices for the recipient and inherently generates strong branding and PR for the company.
- Kiva: recipient chooses among global micro-lending opportunities. Uniqueness: micro-finance is powerful in addressing global poverty and Kiva is a respected pioneer.
- Donors Choose: recipient can support a specific need for a teacher and classroom. Uniqueness: projects are crowd-sourced, specific and support education which is the cause category of most concern to Americans today.
Every year during the holidays I try to focus on meaningful gifts for those close to us. And every year I am appalled at the commercialism. This year it just seems over the top, almost desperate, and not necessarily the retailers. A lot of people seem desperate.
I’ve made a decision for next year: for all the family members I will be donating the same amount for gifts to a nonprofit of their choice, preferably one they already support. This seems to be in the true sense of the season. I haven’t decided just what I’ll do in terms of company marketing, but I am certain that whatever is decided, a portion will go to a nonprofit of my choice.
This has been an interesting week of introspection. I have some interesting marketing opportunities, but I am hesitant to take them. The positivity I’m feeling is more of a home-bred sense of being at home and sewing/quilting/trying new art projects, along with some earning of additional travel money. Maybe it’s age catching up. Even ten years ago I would have probably been gung-ho to get the business up and making lots of additional money. The energy just isn’t there right now. With hubby not well, we need to make good decisions about our time together, and that means getting on the road as much as possible. We’re marbling now for the fun of it; hubby really enjoys what he has been doing and what opportunities we can have with some traveling – like going to Seattle the end of March.
I guess it means taking a long, serious look at what is really important at this stage of our lives.