The Perfect Gift

The Perfect Gift

I am not good at buying gifts. Whether for birthdays, Christmas, or other events, I don’t seem to have that special knack for getting people just the right thing. I used to wander from store to store or sit at the computer shopping online hoping the right gift would show itself. But that rarely happened.

I finally admitted defeat and started giving gift cards.

There is something special about giving someone the perfect gift. But maybe the perfect gift can also be one that allows the recipient some flexibility. Click To Tweet

At first, I was afraid people would think I’d waited to the last minute or didn’t care enough to shop. Instead, I was surprised by how much they appreciated it.

Don’t get me wrong. There is something special about giving someone the perfect gift. But maybe the perfect gift can also be one that allows the recipient some flexibility. I don’t want someone I care about to feel awkward that I gave them something they can’t use, nor do I want them to feel obligated to use or do something they really don’t want. The gift card gives them a lot of flexibility.

I think this approach is also applicable to the gifts we give to charity.

When your charitable gift is given without strings, the charity is free to use it in whatever way will best accomplish their mission. Click To Tweet

People often give gifts to charities for a specific purpose, rather than affording charities the flexibility to use gifts wherever they’re most needed. A little twist in the donation rules in Canada dictates that if a charity accepts a gift that comes with stipulations regarding how the gift is to be used, the charity must use those funds to meet those specific stipulations, even if using them another way would make better use of those funds.

No matter how generous the gift, giving money to a school specifically for a program they do not and cannot offer, or leaving a bequest to a church for the sole purpose of building a gymnasium when the congregation is aging and landlocked are examples of gift giving gone wrong. Those conditions limit a charity’s ability to do their good work because the gift can’t be used to meet other needs that might be more pressing.  

However, when your charitable gift is given without strings, the charity is free to use it in whatever way will best accomplish their mission. This could mean pivoting to meet emerging needs or changing course to ensure ongoing programs continue. Furthermore, if there is no immediate need, the charity can hold the funds and use them later when a need arises — like a pandemic for example. Consider how many charities wish they had had a strong reserve these past 18 months.   

When it comes to charity, the perfect gift includes allowing the recipient some autonomy in deciding how and when the gift is used. Click To Tweet

I admit this approach can be hard for us to wrap our heads around. (I shopped unsuccessfully for years before allowing myself permission to give gift cards.) However, I also know it feels wonderful to give the perfect gift, and when it comes to charity, the perfect gift includes allowing the recipient some autonomy in deciding how and when the gift is used.

Darren Pries-Klassen

Contributed by Darren Pries-Klassen
CEO

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