In my November 26 contribution to the Nonprofit Quarterly newswire, I check out the devastation of a food bank that is trying to respond to rising demand coupled with falling revenues, and I wrap it up with a unique holiday message:
While no one has the answers to the question of how to sustain generous and caring attitudes and actions all year long, if you are considering your December donation strategy and food banks are on your list, you can make the biggest difference by making it about others instead of about yourself—in other words, don’t give stupid things.
After 30 years in the nonprofit world, it’s physically painful to receive holiday season phone calls from corporations that are engaged in “team building” by constructing “holiday gift baskets” that they would like to “give to our people in need.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but if we needed gift baskets, we’d ask for them. What most charities need is cash, which makes it possible for them to do the critical work they are already doing, or to help more people in need.