sly : marketing

No Christmas Gift to Charity

You would think that a Christmas gift to charity, and especially a gift to UNICEF would be a good thing, but it’s not. It all depends on the story you’re telling, and who’s listening.

By the way, I’m talking about marketing your business. Don’t get me wrong, a gift to UNICEF (or charity in general) is always a good thing.


UNICEF’s programs emphasize developing community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and the Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006. They are awesome!

No matter what business you’re in, a gift to UNICEF is a good thing. But, when it comes to marketing, the why and the how is still important.

The Christmas Gift

I received an e-mail from a company that we buy software from (at the college). The e-mail was short, it said merry christmas and a happy new year, and it said that this year their Christmas gift was to UNICEF. That was it.

When I read their e-mail I thought to myself that this was the perfect example of don’t send a Christmas card to your customers.

The e-mail was sent on the 25th of December. Ask yourself, is this the right time to send an email regarding a Christmas gift?

And why send an e-mail? Not a card?

The Why

We always ask why, you might not know it, but you ask why when you receive a Christmas card. Why did they send the card to me, and why did they give a Christmas gift to UNICEF? It might be obvious, but they should always explain why they did it.

Most people might understand what UNICEF is all about, but still, why did this company donate money during the holidays?

Always explain.

The How

The e-mail didn’t say anything about an amount of money, it didn’t say what type of gift they sent. I just guess that it’s money, because it could be clothes, food, or toys.

What are the people receiving the e-mail thinking?

I’m thinking that the people at the company was in a hurry, and that I’m not sure if they actually donated anything, and if they did, it’s a small gift, because if it was big, they would have said how much (or what it was).

That’s not what you want your customers to think.

What story are they telling?

When you send a Christmas gift and tell your customers about it, you should always be sending it on time (or a little bit early). If you’re late, people will think that you’re late when it comes to business as well.

If you don’t explain why you’re doing things, and how you’re doing it, people will relate it to your business as well. You’re a slug, that’s what you are (in the mind of your customers).

11 responses to “No Christmas Gift to Charity”

  1. Stephen Feather says:

    …send it out early enough that customers can give a gift too.
    …include the link to make the giving that much easier.
    …and its lame to toot your own horn.

  2. I always appreciate and participate in UNICEF’s activities. Here, we even spend some percentage of our revenue for orphans.

  3. Wow, that’s awesome. I agree, the people at UNICEF are doing an amazing job.

    Thanks a lot for sharing, I wish more companies do what you’re doing.

  4. This was a powerful analogy Jens, very powerful. We must never forget that consumers buy ‘stories’, not ‘stuff’. And because of the poor delivery of this poor e-card, you weren’t ‘buying’…Well said my friend.

    • It’s all about people. No matter what we’re selling, it’s always about people. If we don’t tell our stories the right way, it doesn’t matter what we sell (even gifts to UNICEF).

      Thanks a lot for your comment Marcus. They’re always awesome!

      – Happy new year.

  5. TristanH says:

    Great point, Jens. That IS a strange email… “Merry Christmas! We just donated money to UNICEF!” Hmmm… Definitely an odd holiday greeting…

    Thanks for the great post!

    • I agree, I didn’t understand why this company (a trusted company and a company that we’ve been working with for the past five years) sent the email. They clearly are doing something wrong 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment, and a happy new year to you.

  6. Alice says:

    Great points! It’s true that one needs to send greetings beforehand,while an e-mail reaches on that particular day when sent.Anyways, i always participate in UNICEF’s ACTIVITIES

  7. Carol says:

    A Christmas gift to charity is always a good thing. But when it comes to marketing your business, you should always think about the how and the why. At college bedding we know collegiate bedding best!

  8. Joseph Hipolito says:

    Wow this is great I’ve learned something about this I was wondering I dont know how to use this but now I will make sure to learned this..

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