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The Art of Great Gift Giving

When my chevrusa was a kid - in response to his constant asking - his parents would reprimand him from Mishlei, 'Sonei matanos yichye,' 'The person who hates gifts will live.'

To which he would respond, 'The person who loves gifts will REALLY live!'

People love great gifts.

And in fundraising, giving donors great gifts does wonders for your relationship.

The reason is simple - gifts create connection.

When done right, according to John Ruhlin, author of Giftology, they make you stand out from the crowd.

And, when the gift is personalized and meaningful, the receiver is hard-wired to appreciate it.

They’re also hard-wired to reciprocate by giving you something in return - like their money.

Here are five simple rules to make you into a great gift giver.

1. What should you give?

Consider something that reflects your donor's interests.

Is he a baseball fan? Does he collect seforim? Does he appreciate whiskey or is he growing in his Jewish observance?

Think gift ideas in the donors areas of interest.

Another approach is to give gifts that specifically create a connection to your organization’s mission.

2. How much to spend?

This boils down to people’s perception of you and your organization.

Simply put, if you feed the poor, your gift spend will be much less. If your supporters are used to receiving more expensive gifts, your gift spend will have to be more.

The rule though is to look for the more refined item at your budget level.

At the lower budget end, a handwritten note on quality paper is better than a cheap pen with your logo on it.

At the higher end, think practical luxuries.

3. What types of gifts are well received?

Things that are useful to the recipient.

And something they would be proud to be seen using. There are many Judaica items that fit these criteria.

Another detail to take into account is that people appreciate gifts that don't add additional clutter to their lives. Focus on things that they can use and enjoy frequently.

To really star in gift-giving, Ruhlin advises that "your gift should be a conversation starter, which will allow you to stay on the top of someone's mind."

4. When should you give gifts?

The basic rule is - you'll get the best response from people when you 'gift' them at unexpected times.

You should not be sending gifts when everybody else is. They will get lost amongst all those from other organizations.

5. Should your organization’s logo be on the gift?

Not always. Keep the focus of the gift on him, not you.

At the same time, if it will have your logo on it, keep it unobtrusive. Being donor centric and personalizing the gift with the donor’s name can be much more effective.

B'hatzlacha in your gift giving.

Have a great week,


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