It seems that every article I’ve read recently about social media engagement and non-profit management emphasizes the importance of a call to action. It’s not enough to tell your readers about yourself; you need to give them a push to follow it up with some kind of action. On that point I do not disagree. But these arbitrary deadlines remind me of infomercials and are at odds with the behavior I expect from respected non-profits. I’ve seen a few that, in my eyes, fail in a bit way: these arbitrary deadlines can make a casual reader think that donations are not needed after the deadline.
In January 2002 the thing I wanted most in the world was a “hold” button. But, hey, it was a disaster. I mean really a disaster: I was working for the American Red Cross Disaster Services, we were crazy busy, but I was sharing a phone with four other colleagues in a large, bare-bones office.
I’ve worked in non-profit organizations most of my career, and fortunately for me most of them have been large and well-funded, including the American Red Cross. But comparing my non-profit experience to my rare forays into for-profit work, it is impossible to imagine working in any for-profit corporation for six months without a hold button on my telephone. Never mind that the phone was on a plastic folding table, not a desk, so I didn’t have a desk drawer, either. The cultural divide isn’t always so extreme, but there are certain things that can happen in one world that are unimaginable in the other.
In Monday’s post I suggested that making a donation to a non-profit organization can be a terrific gift for someone. But even when you have carefully considered the recipient’s interests and know their favorite charities, it can be more fun when you have an actual gift to offer, wrapped up nicely. So today I’m going to look at ways to combine donations with tangible gifts in creative ways.
My inspiration for this is the World Wildlife Fund‘s “adoption” gifts. For a small donation you can symbolically adopt an endangered animal for yourself or a friend. For a little more money, you get a cute plush toy that looks like that animal.
It’s not even Thanksgiving and there are Christmas trees in store windows. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for holiday decorations until Santa Claus makes his appearance at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Still, it’s time to start thinking about holiday plans and gift giving. No good waiting until the last minute.
If you have anyone on your gift list who’s difficult to shop for, I have a suggestion: make a donation to one of their favorite causes. Donations have been down the past couple of years due to the economy, yet the need is greater. A donation can be a terrific gift–nothing to store, no worrying that it’s the right size or color, and the recipient may be pleasantly surprised by your imaginative gift. You can “wrap” it in a simple envelope, along with an appropriate greeting card or note, and most non-profits will send an acknowledgment directly to the recipient on your behalf.