Gift giving is a practice that’s fun for all parties and occasions. There’s the anticipation, and then the joy, of seeing someone’s face moved by your gift. Why not make the treasure hunt of finding the perfect present, brighten and change many lives. A young budding activist would cherish the gift of membership to an organization supporting their humanitarian passions. While they cannot be exchanged, knowledge and inspiration are pivotal gifts.
Giving money is not necessarily the most thoughtful gift, however, it has the tendency to become quite personalized. The giftee can do with the funds as he/she pleases. For those who prefer this method, a wonderful friend of mine, Esther Netter, CEO of Zimmer Children’s Museum, shared the idea of separating the total gift into two checks (gift certificates work well too). One goes to the lucky recipient and the other is ‘blank’, with the intention of being donating by them to a charitable cause of their choosing. Such a small gesture coaches people to practice the action of philanthropy – and no matter the size, donations are an enormous encouragement to those with need.
In a country where excess is often the result of access, purchasing gifts remain a facet of commercialism. Non-profit, microfinance institution liaison KIVA, is teaching customers a little about the economics of ‘paying it forward’. Their mission is to “connect people through lending to alleviate poverty”, which creates opportunity for individuals around the world to realize their goals and dreams.