A Gambel Girl’s Guide to Getting

By: Meagen Moreland-Taliancich, Communications Strategist

‘Tis the season to give, share and buy. Even the Gambel Girls are plotting our Secret Santa gifts (we’re buying local this year), splurging on Nutcracker tickets and squeezing in volunteer hours before the year comes to a close. However, for many of our clients – especially nonprofits – it’s the season of getting.

Rooms stacked high with toys and donations, warehouses overflowing with soon-forgotten knick-knacks to be sorted and displayed on thrift store shelves, volunteers practically banging down the doors… These are the yuletide troubles that plague some of the city’s most successful nonprofits. While we wish this were the case all year-round, the joy of giving seems to be the most compelling during the holidays.

With that in mind, maybe this is a good time to pause and look at the art of getting. How do you bring Santa’s workshop to your door? What do you do once it gets there? Like little elves on the shelves, we see it all here at Gambel. Allow me to share some of the most effective strategies from our clients who’ve mastered the holidays:

 

  • Be specific. Imagine your donors are Santa Claus. Write out your list and be specific. Rather than a general call for donations, it’s best to spell it out. Donors should understand what their donation pays for and why it’s important to you. Help them envision it as a gift, not just a financial donation.

 

Great example: The New Orleans Women and Children’s Shelter is a master of wish lists. Earlier this year, they published an Amazon list of their exact needs for residents (like towels and toiletries) on their social media to spread the word. Not only did they gain some media coverage, they got everything they wished for.

 

  • Be creative. Attracting potential donors through the clatter of Christmas can feel overwhelming. Remember that it doesn’t need to be perfect or expensive. Even small creative touches can make a difference.

 

Great example: Bridge House / Grace House’s Tree of Recovery is a small act that makes a big difference. Holiday shoppers in the BH/GH thrift stores can purchase an ornament in honor of a loved one struggling with the disease of addiction and hang it on the Tree of Recovery (a simple, standard tree that decorates the store throughout the month of December). By sharing it through a landing page on their website, social media posts and visibility in the thrift stores, this creative tradition is a moving reminder to care for one another during the holidays and all proceeds benefit Bridge House / Grace House.

 

  • Be thankful. Remember when our moms made us write thank you notes when we could have been playing with our cool new toys? That was a bummer. And what’s worse, our moms were totally right – and the rule still applies. Find an inexpensive but meaningful way to say thank you. That could be an e-blast to your donors, an event, a personal phone call, a social media post… or, if you have a super creative and brilliant colleague like we do here at Gambel, a hand-painted thank you note that is minimal or no cost.

 

Great example: Gambel Girl Rosalind Santos Hall drew this holiday card to show appreciation for our clients and partners. Thank you for a wonderful year from all the Gambel Girls…and Marshall the Mouse (see card below).