Instead of Money
The Perfect Gift
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a pre-holiday conversation like the following:
Adult: I want to get you something for the holidays. What would you like?
Teen: I don’t know. Just give me money.
Adult: Seriously? You don’t know? You have to want something.
Teen: Just give me money.
Adult: I’m NOT giving you money. Give me some other ideas.
Teen: [Crickets] [Crickets] [Crickets]
Sound familiar? It should, because it’s a very common gift-giving impasse – and not just in families. A similar thing often happens in the disaster relief sector, except the script tends to go something like this:
Potential Donor: I feel horrible that Hurricane X has just hit and we’d like to help. What do you need?
Disaster Relief Organization: You know what would really help? Money.
Potential Donor: Seriously? You can’t think of anything else you need?
Disaster Relief Organization: Money really is better.
Potential Donor: Never mind. I’ll just hold a collection drive instead.
Like the teen, the disaster relief organization really isn’t trying to be difficult.
Instead, it’s just trying to be practical, because it knows that it can probably do a far better job of purchasing what it needs than someone who doesn’t work in the humanitarian space every day.
Here at ALAN, we totally get that, because we’ve been working with those disaster relief groups for years and have seen firsthand that much like those hideous pajamas that Ralphie received in A Christmas Story, many well-intended gifts often go to waste unless the recipient has actually stated that they wanted or needed them. It’s why we often issue reminders to donate cash (rather than unsolicited products) to humanitarian organizations.
However, there are many times when we can definitely relate to the other side of the dialogue as well– because when push comes to shove, there’s often something in many people’s DNA that really, really wants to do something more tactile or personal than “just money” for the people or causes we care about.
And thankfully, when it comes to logistics, the disaster relief space is full of many opportunities to do that.
In fact if you go to the How To Help section of ALAN’s website, you’ll discover numerous giving opportunities for businesses like yours that have nothing to do with money (check out our pre-offer forms for equipment, space, transportation and services). And if you visit the Active Logistics Needs section of our Disaster Micro-site, you’ll find a list of requests that we’d be over the moon to have you fill (and if they’re not there right now, come back later, because as new disasters hit, we’re constantly updating the list).
Keep that in mind if you happen to draw ALAN’s name for this year’s gift exchange, although like those teens, we wouldn’t complain if we found a check or two in our stocking, too.
And if you happen to draw my name? Rumor has it I’ve always wanted a 1964 ½ convertible (Rangoon Red, please).