Posted by: Lori | November 29, 2011

Holiday Giving

So, here it is, two days post Thanksgiving weekend – yes, we’ve successfully prolonged this one-day holiday into an entire weekend, and if your school system is like ours, it’s a 5-day weekend, according to my teenage son, which made yesterday quite the rude awakening for said teenage son. In reflecting on our holiday, and writing this blog post, I came across my dinner preparation to-do list, as follows:

  •  Put turkey in oven no later than 2 p.m.
  • Mix together mama’s sweet potato casserole
  • Take rolls out of freezer
  • Put in rolls and sweet potato casserole

Of course, as with all cooks, the recipes were tweaked to the tastes of the cook (moi) and the family members. We enjoyed our Thanksgiving meal in the evening, which is unlike my traditional family T-day schedule, a noonish feasting so one may graze the rest of the day. Why, you ask, did we break from tradition? David and I ran a 10K early that morning. We ran in the annual Turkey Trot. Several well-deserving charities participated, which may be unique (I think, typically, one specific charity is THE event charity). One could donate money at time of registration or bring items to the race to donate. It did make me wonder if these events are making the most from these dedicated participants. My mind tends to be nonprofit data focused, so I wondered, “Are runners more charitable than the walkers?” From what I can tell, only those who donated cash during registration would be able to be analyzed in such a way, if the software used to capture the donations allowed for such, and only if registrants were asked to specify if they would be running or walking. (And, hey, if we are all wearing chips in our racing bibs, hmm…) And does it really matter? (I would argue, why, yes, it does matter, and it could matter ahead of time if the nonprofit knew the participants in a deeper way.)

As one can imagine, and rightly so, these race events are a huge undertaking, employing dedicated volunteers and community partners. The to-do list for this type of event must be incredibly detailed, so everybody involved is working from the same recipe. As the holiday season in now upon us, do you have your to-do list for your organization’s holiday giving campaign, and is everyone at your organization following the same recipe? As nonprofits, you can put on an excellent engaging event. What about the post event to-do list? Keeping the engagement going after the event is over, after the holiday season, also needs its own to-do list. What are your holiday giving plans? What has been your recipe for success? Will your organization be breaking from tradition? I invite you to share what has worked for you in the past, what you will be tweaking this time around, and your organization’s plans (or challenges) for further engagement.

(BTW, we did have dessert – it was brought by my wonderful brother-in-law and niece. But my sister had to fight me for the turkey leftovers – yes, it was THAT good. From our home to yours, we hope your Thanksgiving was full of love, hope and peace.)


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