It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right?
So, then make it the most wonderful time of the year…. for charities rather than clients. Don’t get me wrong, we all love, appreciate and respect the hell out of our clients, but that doesn’t mean that we have to spend hundreds of dollars showering them with holiday goodies.
Let’s be honest, if you are a vendor for a big firm, company, or institution, do you really think that your client is going to place their loyalty with you in further contract negations just because you send a box of gourmet cookies?
Now there are certainly the creative types out there that send thoughtful, personalized gifts, that demonstrate attention to detail. These offerings show appreciation just in the pure depth of thought expended to generate that idea. However, these instances are few and far between.
My father owned his own business, and he’d come home during the month of December looking like Old Saint Nick himself, with sacks of gift towers, wine baskets, fruit arrangements and cookie platters. We loved the goodies, but he could never tell us what company had sent their holiday wishes with such delights.
Those treats, which ended up eventually becoming stale, were tossed in the garbage. It was watching money be thrown away.
As a small business owner, I find it very important to tell my clients that I appreciate their support and the work we’ve done together. However, I don’t need to do it with gifts. I let them know that I value their partnership all year round, by providing them with outstanding service – not a wine basket in December.
This doesn’t mean that nice gestures should be forgotten as the year comes to a close. It is the giving season after all.
In recent years, I’ve decided to forgo the material gifts to clients and repurpose those dollars by giving to charities. I make donations in the names of each one of my clients to organizations that positively impact the lives of others. I’ve received more “thanks” and “what a great idea” comments from my partners for these gifts than I ever did with material presents.
Charitable contributions are not only generous, but also provide an opportunity for your clients to understand your values and your social impact. I am passionate about Veteran organizations; therefore, my gift donations have been marked for groups that serve this population. Another option is to make donations to the organizations that your client’s company supports.
With more and more consumers tuned into corporate social responsibility and values, it seems a natural transition for the delivery of holiday gift baskets to decline and charitable giving to increase.
If you are looking for a non-profit that is worthy of your generosity, check out charitynavigator.com and be sure to select an organization that pairs with your corporate brand and values.
Here are a few of my personal favs:
Happy Giving Season!