Monday, November 24, 2008

Good Gifting and Charitable Gift Cards Buzzwords 2008.6 and 2008.7

Two new buzzwords move us toward our annual ten-count - number six is "Good Gifting" and at number seven we get "Charitable gift cards."

Buzzword 2008.6 Good Gifting - We all know what re-gifting is -- passing on a gift that was given to you. Think of all those unwrapped secret Santa presents, sweaters that don't fit, baby gear, and fruitcakes. "Good gifting" is the feel good equivalent of re-gifting. It involves giving a philanthropic gift in someone else's name or giving them the choice of a charitable donation instead of giving them more "stuff."

This idea has been around for awhile. Hints of it appeared last year around this time, but the new hipness of frugality may be the catalyst this kind of behavior needs. Consider The Dalio Family Foundation's promotion of "Redefine Christmas." As the site notes:

"Consider that the amount of money spent on candy alone during the holiday season is greater than the annual budgets of the American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity combined."

As everyone seems to be watching pennies this holiday season it follows that we might see a swing away from giving "stuff" to giving something more meaningful.We've already got radio series devoted to frugal tricks for the holidays, websites devoted to making frugal chic (Frugalista is a 2008 word of the year!), and consumer columns that are now focusing on giving in non-consumer oriented ways. Here's a Good Gift gift guide from OneWorld

Coming in number 7 on the buzzword list is "charitable gift cards" - which just barely missed the buzz list last year but are definitely proving that a useful idea will find its time. The biggest decision you'll have to make - do you give a GlobalGiving biodegradable gift card? A cow or goat from OxFam Unwrapped? A charitable gift certificate? These cards will jump in use this year largely because of the interest in Good Gifting.

One thing to beware of - USA Today estimates that folks are holding more than $75 million in worthless gift cards from companies that have gone bankrupt - from Linens 'N Things to Sharper Image. The good news with charitable gift cards is you won't be left holding the bag (er, plastic card), but you should still make sure that you are giving your loved one a card he/she can use on a cause he/she cares about.

And, yes, I am fully aware that both of these phenomena takes embedded giving (queen of the 2007 buzzword list) another step down the road to a total remix of commerce and philanthropy. As the president of one charitable gift card supplier noted last year, "“Philanthropy and commercial products are converging with each other...We’re offering a charity gift card as basically a commercial product.”

Of course, economic fear is driving a good part of the attention to both of these concepts, but those who care about these ideas are to be commended for being ready when the tide turned in their direction. Retail sales numbers for this coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday will reveal much about the general consumer mood, but I'm willing to bet that Good Gifting (which I also considered tagging as "frugal philanthropy." How about "thrift-anthropy?") and Charitable Gift Cards will definitely be the buzz for this giving season. Is there a Black Friday/Cyber Monday equivalent for Good Gifting? If one emerges, we'll note it here on the 2009 Buzzword list!

For those of you keeping score, here's the 2008 Buzzword list so far:
1) Mobile Giving,
2) Labs,
3) Outsourced Program Advising,
4) Design,
5) Micro -,
6) Good gifting and
7) Charitable gift cards.

Buzzwords 2008.8, 9 and 10 coming soon.....


TisBest said...

Who would have thought "charitable gift cards" would make a buzz list. I am thrilled! I am the Executive Director of TisBest Philanthropy and we offer a Charity Gift Card at . Our charitable purpose is to encourage nonmaterial gift giving. Our big challenge is to explain to people what a Charity Gift Card is. I would love it if people knew what a Charity Gift Card was and wanted to give and receive the cards as gifts! We have worked hard to make the TisBest Charity Gift Card the easiest and most elegant website, all our cards are individually printed on demand, have fully custom images and fully custom messages and can be delivered by email, printed on your printer or sent by email on 100% recycled content plastic. Questions and comments are welcome at

Anonymous said...

Great article and ideas. I created a company in memory of my 28 year old sister, Liz, who died from breast cancer. Uptown Liz ( promotes products from companies whose proceeds go to charity. You can shop on this one-of-a-kind Web site by charitable cause or product category, knowing that every time you make a purchase you are making a difference. There are many great art, clothing, jewelry, house wares, beauty and eco-friendly products (just to name a few) that benefit charities all over the world.

Lucy Bernholz said...

Good Gifts for Social Entrepreneurs -

Discount Cards said...

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