This morning we picked up the new labels for an event gift PAX World will give this month. The design is great. PAX’s logo, colors, image and message – on a useful and desirable product that supports social good – deliver a message of real impact.
PAX is not alone in recognizing that giving the opposite kind of gift… something of low value with your logo on it… is a really bad idea. Those cheap promotional gifts that flood inboxes, jam mailboxes, and ultimately fill waste bins do nothing more than undermine your brand. That stuff – that junk – is the butt of jokes. Who hasn’t received a corporate or event gift that deserves to be made fun of? We call it bad swag.
But here’s the thing about PAX World. They didn’t just make a better choice once. This is the third year in a row this company has aligned its gifts with its values. That is impressive.
Sometimes we find ourselves in conversation with good people who love our mission and impact, love that a gift can be more than a mug, flashlight pen or the perennial box of sweets to be added to the pile. Then they do what we all do. Look for a lower price. We get it, everyone has a budget. We do, too.
The thing is, low prices decimate positive impact. It’s like looking for social good at a discount. And often it doesn’t even make sense! We’ll pay $8 for cookies but not $7 for a handmade, fair trade, fully customized candle that provides living wages for refugees. A gift basket stuffed with little treats for $40 is great, but the same basket with several quality products that make a difference in people’s lives somehow seems expensive.
Not so with PAX. Or Scholastic. Or eBay, Harvard, U.S. Trust, CARE and a host of others. These organizations get it. They align their gifts with their values, allowing no gap between words and action. It’s very cool.
So kudos to all of them, and to every company and nonprofit that understands that giving out cheap gifts is a terrible way to build your brand, win customers or thank donors.
You have to gift differently to do that.