Cookies & candy do not a relationship build

It’s the time of year when companies and individuals determine how they will “gift” clients, family, friends, colleagues, service people, neighbors and strangers.  It seemed a good time to get a head-start for those who haven’t made decisions yet on the why, how, and what we give.

For those who might read this and think it’s not relevant to our work, consider:

-We are the hospitality industry and we stress relationships in all we do. Building relationships is beyond “booking business” and rewarding doing so – it’s helping when and where we can.

-“People first” is what I teach as the priority in considering risk assessment and management. “People first” should be our motto when it comes to all we do – designing programs, planning and providing food & beverage, providing transportation and entertainment – and especially to caring for others’ well-being.

-“Doing” more than saying how much we care speaks volumes. (You know.. “Actions speak louder than words”?!)

I've started a list of things that can be done for little or no money and added those that cost whatever you think you can afford.  Please add to these with suggestions.  We can do better.

  1. Building on my last blog (“Help I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up”): offer an ear to an “employable colleague” – someone in need of a job. Take this a step further and offer a resume review or a mock interview and provide pointers.  Offer to pay for a colleague to attend a webinar or f2f industry program especially if they want to secure CEUs toward continuing CMP (or other) certification. [Thanks again to my friend, LC, for her coining 'employable' v. unemployed. Better!]

    If it’s a face to face meeting they want to attend, go with the colleague. Sometimes when you’ve been out of work for a bit (or longer) it’s nice to have someone with you to help deflect some questions.

    Help that employable colleague maintain an industry membership to keep the connections alive. Consider supporting sustainability and a colleague and give a gift membership to the Green Meetings Industry Council.
  2. Instead of cookies or candy or flowers or any tangible gift to someone’s office, donate to their organization’s foundation to help provide education and support for others in their profession.

    If a client has a service project they do every year around the holidays (or at other times), offer to join them and bring some of your co-workers to help. More hands will equal greater output and help. If physically helping isn’t possible, provide the tools and food and beverage for those doing the work.
  3. Gather your co-workers and industry colleagues to help a community event. Schedule it now for after the holidays.  Many groups get lots of help at this time of year; it’s year ‘round when they need it more.
  4. Give money or tangible items to someone or an entity really in need. The list is of course endless; the groups and people I support diverse.  I recommend the foundation begun by my friend, Tammi Runzler, an industry colleague, to support children in Haiti: My Neighbor’s Children. Or read about my friend Isaac and his dad Tom and Isaac’s journey at St. Jude and donate to support all the children who would not otherwise have a chance against cancer.  You’ll help my 4 year old friend, Nora, and her parents too. (Thanks, Tom, for the link to RadioCares so I could be prompted to write this today.)

    Or consider Teaching Tolerance of the Southern Poverty Law Center. They are doing so much to help make bullying of our nation’s young people a thing of the past; they provide teachers with tools to help children learn to care about each other. They have done good work for years; help them do more.
  5. Speaking of children and education, if you are not familiar with Donor’s Choose, go read about it now. (Thanks to my friend, Liz, for introducing this to me some years ago with a donation in my name.)   School systems’ funding has been and will continue to be cut; if we want an educated populace in the future, we have to help now. I support it monthly with a donation of “chai” (not the tea!) – $18.00 –that can go to any project I choose. (Generally, I give locally to high-poverty DC schools; I made an exception for the South Carolina classroom in which my niece, Leslie, is an exceptional teacher.)  Ask a teacher you know if he or she knows about Donor’s Choose. Support them and all teachers and children.

I could go on for pages of what to consider supporting –from education to helping others eat or keep and heat their homes, from social justice and human rights to planting trees.   

Add to the list. Let’s make a commitment to do beginning this season of thankfulness and giving. Let's continue it in other seasons. Need never ends. 

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