After Black Thursday Night, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and probably some days I missed along the way, I am almost worn out. Yet, not-for-profit outfits also rely heavily on this time of year. Fascinating to me (because I am geek this way) that both for profit and non profit organizations totally rely on the last four weeks of the year to provide the cash for the next 12 months….
Non-profits get almost 75% of their annual revenue in donations and gifts during the final three months of the year and the bulk of that comes in the final two weeks of December. Retail stores, interestingly, get nearly half of their annual revenue between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. So, what does each have in common? The tax laws are a bit different, so that’s not it….What is striking is that this time of year reveals both our giving as well as our receiving influenced annually by the Christmas message of sacrifice and generosity.
So, in the spirit of giving and receiving, here’s what you can get me for Christmas and to be fair, I will list three non profit and three for profit ideas.
1) Biographies of two of my favorite leaders: Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. Feel free to send Carl Sandburg’s Lincoln work, which set the standard for so long. And if you’re partial to something a bit more modern, by all means you can send me William Manchester’s three volume work on Churchill. You can send them here:
Attn, Bo White; P.O. Box 70; Omaha, NE; 68101
2) Gift cards to itunes or amazon.com…..will make me feel empowered when I browse (see address above)
3) This Adidas half zip pullover….I used to have something like this and wore it nearly every day in spring and fall (any color will do and by the way, I wear an Extra Large (XL) . Plus, I have yet to purchase something from Zappos and feel left out. (same address as above)
On the non-profit front, here goes:
1) Send money to a mission organization and then shoot me a note to tell me which one. There are scores of good ones, so I won’t list them, but seriously, send some money to a group that truly relies on it daily. If you connect with me on this site, I will tweet, blog, and do what I can to cheer you on.
2) Memorize these two quotes:
“When you listen and read one thinker, you become a clone… two thinkers, you become confused… ten thinkers, you’ll begin developing your own voice… two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise and develop your voice.”
― Timothy Keller
“My life is a witness to vulgar grace–a grace that amazes as it offends. A grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wages as the grinning drunk who shows up a ten till five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal reeking of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party no ifs, ands or buts. A grace that raises bloodshot eyes to a dying thief’s request–”Please, remember me”–and assures him, “You bet!” A grace that is the pleasure of the Father, fleshed out in the carpenter Messiah, Jesus the Christ, who left His Father’s side not for heaven’s sake but for our sakes, yours and mine. This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It’s not cheap. It’s free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown-up sensibility. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try to find something or someone it cannot cover. Grace is enough. He is enough. Jesus is enough.”
3) Do something good for someone who will not know it was you and he or she does not have the ability to pay you back. After all, Good Friday is far closer to the Christmas message than Black Friday.
Feel free to act on any of these six ideas; that’s what you can get me for Christmas.