Giving The Gift: SUPPORT

Welcome back to Giving The Gift:  Thoughtful, meaningful gift ideas to consider for this gift-giving season.

As I get older, I find this time of year to be more and more of a challenge

Partially because my sensibilities and priorities are changing, partially from the 25+ years I worked in retail, and certainly because of the sobering effect the last few years have had on us all. 

Unlike Linus, I struggle to find a balance, and be at peace with money and cost vs. authentic meaning.

Went through a similar mind-block when I was first seriously forming my company. I needed a name that reflected heart, left room for individuals of all perspectives to find value and comfort, and did not define itself, or align this value with a dollar figure. 

There is nothing wrong with a tangible gift, but if you are struggling to find meaning at the mall-or find yourself at a loss when asked ‘what do you want?-here’s an alternative: Consider giving-or asking for-the gift of support.

There are fewer ways to better honor someone you hold dear than to support something near and dear to them.  Because there are so many segments of the population in need, you’re giving the gift of hope. Many people already have favorite charities or causes, but not all.  If this calls to you, here are three points to help you choose well. 

Local or larger? 

 If you know someone well enough to give them a gift, you probably  know what the giftees’ preference is, a local or a national organization. Start here, you’ll narrow the field dramatically.  

What is close to their heart? 

 Organizations that support the basics of food, health and shelter abound at all levels-local, national, even international, but what about the not-as-dire?

Think education: literacy, libraries, specific school clubs and ancillary programs that support schools. Outreach programs: they  exist for every demographic, unwed mothers to infants, at-risk kids, and seniors. Almost every worthwhile institution or program has a  “Friends of ” organization behind it. Arts and parks, sports and animals, health clinics and hospitals.

Greater good causes? The enviornment, peace, veterans and military families. Google a topic and a locale, and no matter where you-or your giftee lives, you can get ideas and specifics.

CHECK IT OUT

Once you have a few contenders, do your research. Big glossy mailers do not an effective organization make. If you typically troll thru company reports, you can probably have your questions answered on the organization’s site; but if not, Charity Navigator is the world’s largest charity evaluator.

 

Last point to make about this type of gift: it does NOT need to be about money.

Time is just as precious, and volunteerism is how the bulk of things get done in these organizations. Consider contacting, and committing to time at an organization or cause near and dear to the giftee. TRIPLE BONUS: You will feel you’ve been ‘gifted’ as well.