“Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” – Kathy Calvin
We have all received a thoughtless gift, where we are thinking “Do you even know me?!” In this situation, getting nothing would have actually been better because the tone deafness exhibited showed an apathy, a lack of thought and caring that diminishes the relationship.
I have seen material donations to charities that ended up becoming a net burden, whether it was due to carrying costs associated with a piece of artwork, or upkeep/maintenance needed on property, or the unseen strings from the donor that caused the cost of receiving the gift to be greater than the value. Maybe you’ve seen these unintended consequences in other situations (“hey man can I crash for a few days at your place?” “Can you sit my cats for a bit?” “I want to give you this opportunity here at the office…”). A gift should not become a load to be carried nor resented.
A true gift should be additive. It should be well thought out by the donor along the lines of “what would really help them or enhance their happiness?” And it should be useful to the recipient. More money to a rich person is not making a difference the way an evening of babysitting to the stressed-out new parent or a pizza to an underfed college student is. Computers to a classroom, tools to a trade school, volunteer hours to a charity (like updating their website or helping in their office) are gifts that directly and positively impact the world. These sorts of gifts may not be as expensive as other gifts but are much more valuable in terms of adding joy to the world.
Make a difference, for it makes all the difference in the world.