Doing Good WITH, Not Giving to Customers


Share on LinkedIn

I hate to admit this but there was a time I used to give my top clients Christmas gifts in the spirit of marketing.  You know the approach, send your important customers or referral sources a tin of popcorn with your business card prominently attached or maybe even  a logo’d cap or t-shirt.

Somewhere along the way, I had a shift in my view of client “gift-giving” (if you could have ever really called it that). My staff and I stopped giving things that were meant to promote us and instead partnered with clients to promote a collective good. As such, we donated money or time on behalf of (or in partnership with) our clients.  Our resources were thus directed to causes about which we were authentically passionate

It appears that our revised approach to gift giving is becoming increasingly well-received.  According to the Liberty Mutual “2010 Responsible Giving Survey,” conducted by Ketchum Global Research Network:

  • 30% of adults say they will donate money to charity rather than purchase some gifts this holiday season:
  • Four in five adults say they appreciate it when people make a donation to a charity rather than purchasing a gift for them
  • More than half of adults agree that it’s more responsible to make a donation to a charity on behalf of someone than to purchase a gift for them.
  • Three in four adults say they would volunteer their time to charity as a gift if they thought others would value this type of responsible giving.
  • Nine out of ten adults ages 18-29 say they would volunteer their time if they thought others would value this type of giving
  • 48% of adults say they will be purchasing fewer gifts this holiday season, while just 10% say they will be purchasing more gifts.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time for logo’d items (be looking for my Zappos Experience t-shirts when my new book is released next fall) but maybe we can think of other ways to give at Christmas.

If you are at all like me, you probably have more logo’d Christmas-time calendars, pens, and wall-magnet’s from insurance and real estate agents than you could use in a lifetime.

I suspect what many of us could use, are more opportunities to do “good” with those who have helped us do “well.”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here