Five Tips for ‘Gifts For life’
Anne Browne loves all the work that Episcopal Relief & Development does, and wants everyone to know that “Episcopal Relief & Development is the best organization they can support!” But her real passion is reserved for a special program: Gifts for Life. She deeply appreciates how directly Gifts for Life empowers local partners, offering individuals and communities the ability to help themselves in ways that respect their home, history and culture.
A born educator, Anne spent many years with the American Field Service as a coordinator and counselor, worked with intellectually challenged students, taught kindergarten, and put in 21 years as a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo – along with raising 7 children, enjoying 11 grandchildren (and several godchildren) and running home-based mail order businesses selling cards, stationary and children’s books and toys from around the world.
With this background to draw from, it’s no wonder that Anne is ingenious at finding personalized ways to leverage her support for Gifts for Life and spread the word about the good work done by Episcopal Relief & Development. Here are some of her favorite tactics for creating a ‘ripple effect’ of blessings.
5 Tips from a Gifts for Life ‘Professional’
One: Think like Miss Manners
Everyone likes to be thanked – or will at some point earn a congratulations, be in need of condolences, or have some other reason why acknowledgement with a card is socially graceful and appropriate. Following the advice she used to give her card-buying customers, Anne makes sure she always has a stash of 10-20 Gifts for Life cards on hand for just these situations. (Every Gifts for Life donation is acknowledged with a card.) As Anne says, “It’s just like buying something for the food pantry and leaving it in your car – it’s right there when you get to church.”
Two: Give to Celebrate Holidays and Birthdays
Instead of buying special Christmas, Valentine’s or birthday cards, double the effect of your goodwill by donating to the Gifts for Life program that is most relevant or appealing to the person you are giving for – while spreading the word about Episcopal Relief & Development’s good work.
Three: Honor Others
Anne became an Episcopalian at age 19. She was drawn by the positive changes in her family due to counseling by an Episcopal priest her aunt and mother met following the early death of Anne’s cousin. For Anne, being an Episcopalian means to ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’ and to have a commitment to being ‘active in community’ – two reasons she is so supportive of Episcopal Relief & Development! Four years ago, Anne decided to walk her own walk by honoring people in her church who she felt truly live out their faith. She chose Thanksgiving as an appropriate time, and sent Gifts for Life cards to those special members of her community, acknowledging their contributions.
Four: Especially for Kids
Anne adds small tokens to Gifts for Life cards to make the donation more real and tangible to young people. One favorite is a small stuffed lamb or other animal to accompany an Animal and Agriculture donation. Another is a book or some colored pencils with an Early Learners gift. She also suggests including a colorful photo (think a flock of bright yellow baby chicks!). Applicable for any age, photos grab attention and interest and help anyone understand what this gift in their honor really represents.
Five: Especially for New Grandparents
Anne loves sending cards supporting Early Childhood Development programs to new grandparents, who will be celebrating their new connection to why this program and the education it helps support is so important, anywhere and everywhere in the world.
“It is truly a blessing to share and to give.”
Anne didn’t know Episcopal Relief & Development well throughout most of her life. Now that she does, she wants to share the good news, with people in her church and with others. Gifts for Life has offered her a perfect way to show her concern and caring for this world while cultivating new links in her ‘chain of blessings’ and introducing people to an organization that she knows does good and necessary work.
Episcopal Relief & Development is grateful for Anne’s dedication to our organization, and for her commitment to finding ways of making Gifts for Life a gift for all occasions!
Richard Hoff is a Major Gifts Officer for Episcopal Relief & Development.
Images: Top—Cover photo for the 2018 Gifts for Life catolog; Middle 1—Children receiving nutrition after a disaster, DR Congo ; Middle 2—Child with her pig, Nicaragua; Last – Anne Browne (center) with her family.