I saw a Facebook post this morning that made my heart sing.
I volunteered for that shelter a couple of winters ago, going in to make up beds and prepare evening meals. It makes a big difference to have a warm place to sleep on a freezing winter night. And I know just what impact that donation will have on those people.
For the last few years, instead of client cards and gifts, we’ve made a donation to The Nottingham Basket Brigade. The program was started by Tony Robbins and it’s built on a simple notion: “One small act of generosity on the part of one caring person can transform the lives of hundreds”.
We make up hampers of Christmas goodies and presents, including toiletries and food staples, and deliver them to nominated families in the local area who don’t have very much. Apart from having some nice Christmas things, the unexpected gift gives people hope for the future and makes them feel like someone cares.
Does anyone really need more alcohol and chocolate?
And it got me thinking about how much time, effort and expense companies go to at Christmas to ply their customers with trinkets. And if that effort could be better directed at helping a local charity that desperately needs support, to help people in real need?
I do understand taking gifts is a great reason to go and visit our customers, but do our relationships really rely on a bottle of alcohol and a tub of sugar?
We could visit them anyway and tell them about the charity we’re working with.
Would our customers think more of us for being thoughtful and choosing to make a difference to someone who needs it, rather than trot out the annual, and let’s be honest, not-so-thoughtful cliché.
It’s better business, better for the environment, better for our customers’ health and better for your soul!