Charity Begins At Home

Americans spent more in two months on holiday items than they did all year on charitable giving in 2006. Holiday retail sales for November and December 2006 in the general merchandise category were up about 4.6 percent, totaling roughly $456 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Charitable giving for 2006 set a record, topping $300 billion.

Why am I telling you this? Because once again I’m promoting Holiday for Charity, which encourages more donations to charity.

The program works like this:

1. ask friends, family and business associates to donate to a charity instead of buying you holiday gifts

2. sell your gifts online at eBay’s GivingWorks and donate the proceeds to charity

3. register and shop at iGive, whose merchants donate a portion of each transaction to the charities of your choice.

4. offer to do volunteer work in lieu of buying holiday gifts

5. donate directly to charity in lieu of buying holiday gifts for clients and customers

Giving to charity in the names of your clients instead of buying holiday gifts is a good way for a business to establish itself as an upstanding corporate citizen. Charitable giving is tax deductible and – when properly done and communicated – helps a business position itself positively in the eyes of its key audiences.

Recent research indicates that 80 percent of Americans have a more positive image of businesses identified as supporting charitable causes. Two-thirds say they would likely switch brands or retailers to one associated with a good cause.

So, give it up this holiday season and get some goodwill.

About the Author

Harry Hoover
Harry Hoover is a partner in My Creative Team, the agency that makes Fortune 1000 clients look good. His communications career spans 35 years and runs the gamut from print and broadcast journalism, government and corporate communications to advertising and public relations agencies. He is the author of Born Creative: Free Your Mind, Free Yourself and Moving to Charlotte: The Un-Tourist Guide.

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