‘Tis the Season to Show Gratitude

Winter

Make no doubt about it, we are amidst the season of giving. A time to reconnect with family and friends, create lasting holiday memories and give back to others in a show of our appreciation, affection and overall connection to one another.

Of course, most of that “joy” comes at a price. How much? According to the National Retail Federation, “Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year.” Charitable donations are at their peak during the Christmas season. Online charitable giving during the month of December sits above 20% of all online giving throughout the year. All this spending and asking to give however, can yield the opposite effect of that intended holiday cheer.

Think about the number of direct mail solicitations you receive this time of year, the burgeoning email inbox from holiday retailers, your alma mater or even your local fire department. In the deluge of the power of the purse and what has been coined “seasonal altruism” by the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, we seem to collectively forget that sometimes the most impactful gifts come at a minimal cost or nothing at all- the simple act of saying “Thank you.”

Never underestimate the power of appreciation. When was the last time you got fed up with someone showing their gratitude toward you? Have you thought about your donors’ perspective this holiday season or even this year? In the fatigue of the ask, set yourselves apart by remembering the message of Thanksgiving during the season of giving. Purely steward those who have so generously given throughout the year or at year end. Make outreach personal. Set time aside whether within internal departments or with volunteers to make phone calls, set up lunch dates for leadership donors, mail personal cards and thoughtful email communications that let your alumni/ae, faculty, friends and parents know that their hard earned money and time has made a difference.

Certainly, giving this time of year is important and who does not like a charitable tax deduction? Remember though, gratitude has immense power to pay dividends not only during the month of December, but throughout the entire year. “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected”-Author Unknown. A $25 donation today may lead to a $250 donation next year and a $2,500 gift in 10 years. Letting someone know that they are appreciated is not seasonal, it has a lasting impact and generates an innate feeling of wanting to be part of giving to something greater than oneself. Be sincere, make it personal and take the time to really develop the relationship.

With the dawn of a new decade fast approaching, keep the message of gratitude a pivotal organizational objective in 2020. From all of us at BCG we thank you!

Bibliography

National Retail Federation © 1997 — 2019 National Retail Federation
https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/consumers-will-spend-41-percent-more-last-year-during-winter-holidays

Charity Navigator Copyright ©2019 Charity Navigator. All rights reserved https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=4440

Science Direct Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V.

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Volume 153, September 2018, Pages 177-193 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167268118301811

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BCG Staff Writer