Digital solutions abound in most aspects of our lives.
A digital solution for group gift giving makes sense because there are so many benefits.
Plus, when done right, the perceived downside is actually a benefit as well. (I’ll get to that in just a second).
Today’s blog is a comprehensive explainer of the benefits of a digital solution for group gift-giving.
Then, I’ll discuss the people involved and the benefits to each of them: The Organizer, Contributors, and Recipient(s).
Above all, let me start with a significant concern I hear often. It might be THE 🐘 elephant 🐘 in the room regarding digital gifts.
The Elephant In The Room About a Digital Group Gift
People say a digital gift, like a gift card, “seems impersonal.”
On first impression, I agree.
For example, a gift card sent to the recipient via email IS impersonal.
Transactional gifts without context are impersonal. Yes, they accomplish the task and “check the box.” But they do little else for both the recipient and those giving the group gift.
In other words, a gift card without a meaningful, heartfelt, and authentic context, such as a note of appreciation, is just a transaction.
Want to know what else is impersonal? A bad gift.
One that misses the mark for the recipient says you don’t know them very well.
An example of a bad gift? Apple-themed anything for teachers. Clipboards and whistles for coaches. anything.
If you don’t know the recipient very well, you run the risk of purchasing one of those generic “bad” gifts.
This is why it is so important to be intentional about the approach.
A digital gift gives everyone several benefits, such as convenience and time savings.
However, I offer the suggestion that you should trade in those benefits to improve the gift experience for recipients.
How do you do that? Increase the meaning and impact for the recipient.
Trade in that convenience of a digital gift for a little extra care on the message that accompanies the gift.
Tell the recipient “Why” behind the gift. Share why you appreciate the person. What he did, her impact, your gratitude, and why you feel that gratitude.
Now, if your gift included a few words of that nature, written or recorded in a video, how does that feel?
Advantages of The Appreciation Company for a Digital Group Gift
The Appreciation Company is different for the following reasons:
Deeply meaningful and personal for the recipients
First, we emphasize writing personal and heartfelt notes to the recipient.
If this is a teacher or coach, work with your child to craft a message of appreciation that explains why they feel gratitude towards that teacher or coach.
Let’s not lose the art of the “Thank You Note.”
Again, teachers, nurses, coaches, and others have told us that notes of Appreciation are what they need right now after the past few years of challenges the world has experienced.
Our notes are packaged into digital albums that are beautiful and can be accessed at any time.
Unlike eGreeting cards or simply giving a digital gift card, the albums accompanying the balance live on forever. We see this as a bank of goodwill that the recipient can access.
Imagine if a school teacher received 30 notes from students over a career of 30+ years. That would be nearly 1,000 notes of the lives she touched in her career.
Choice for Recipient of Group Gift
If contributors want to give a monetary amount, this becomes a ‘balance’ for the recipient. However, they are not required to contribute monetarily.
In turn, the balance is turned into eGiftCards at the time and merchants of the recipients choosing.
Overwhelmingly, teachers, nurses, coaches, and other recipients tell us they want to choose the gift based on their personal needs and lifestyle.
There are many benefits here for the organizer, especially if you don’t know the person all that well.
Have you ever been in a conversation that sounded like, “What does Coach Sanchez like or need?” or “What should we get, teacher Becky?”
The Appreciation Company eliminates this problem. 🧐
Free to organize and redeem
We don’t charge to organize an a gift through our platform, and we don’t charge the recipient to redeem.
Yes, we assess a small handling fee for anyone that contributes to cover our technology and operating costs, just a dollar or three, so the recipient gets the entire balance.
No, we don’t advertise. We don’t sell your data. Rather, our mission is all about creating a movement of putting gratitude into action.
Fast and Efficient
At a a minimum, a digital solution must meet the expectation of speed and efficiency in today’s time-strapped world.
Our beautiful interface is designed with this specifically in mind. You don’t want to fiddle with extra steps and freeze because you are confused by a zillion choices.
It is as fast and easy as Venmo to contribute.
Organizers have a bit more work. They have to enter three pieces of information (Gosh, 3! 🤣):
- Name the Appreciation
- Set a target date
- Provide the recipient contact information.
Guess what? You can contribute to an appreciation after the deadline. Hallelujah!
Have you ever missed a deadline for something and wished you could go back? With The Appreciation Company, you don’t have to.
That’s because links don’t expire, and balances can be added after the deadline. That isn’t the case once a group gift or a traditional gift card is purchased.
Our service always includes a reminder that “it isn’t too late” for that person who needs this as an option.
Our service does that because we’ve been there ourselves and will again in the future.
Finally, appreciations are live and can be contributed to the second they are created.
We’ll provide you with a template email, text message, and link you can use.
For example, I’ve been on the sideline of a soccer game and created an appreciation for the coach during the game.
It was so convenient. I dropped a message into the parent’s group text, and we all contributed before the final whistle.
After the “2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate…” cheer, the coach got a link and opened her album and balance right there on the field.
Other Benefits of a Digital Group Gift
The only requirements to participate in a digital group gift are an internet-connected device and a way to be contacted (email or text).
We don’t need or want to know about your personal financial situation, your location on the earth, your gender, or any other preference or attribute about you.
Don’t carry cash? No problem. We are digital. Don’t want to give a monetary amount? No problem. Instead, write a note or opt out of this round. That is your choice.
When someone contributes to an Appreciation with our service, no one knows how much is given to that gift, if at all. No one! Not even the recipient.
The Appreciation Company only displays the aggregate balance to the recipient. Therefore, we protect everyone involved from the slightest perception that there could be bias.
Additionally, this eliminates any shame if someone doesn’t feel like they can give enough or doesn’t want to contribute a monetary amount.
There are three ways we think about value with a gift:
First, the effort and intended impact of the organizer and contributors. Organizing and contributing is fast and convenient. You don’t have to waste time communicating or deciding on a gift.
Next, the actual cost of the service. As discussed, our cost is only a small service fee of a dollar or three for anyone that contributes. We are fully transparent by showing this fee right on the page at the checkout, so there isn’t any ambiguity.
Finally, the impact of the gift itself on the recipient. After years of research and firsthand experience, we’ve found that the notes of appreciation are precisely what the recipient wants and needs.
The messages convey heartfelt gratitude felt by the contributors. A gift like this never misses the mark.
In contrast, a a mug, coffee, chocolate, or any other item that might not be received as intended. Also, there is zero dilution of the value of the balance. Every dollar is given to the recipient.
The Appreciation Company is 100% digital. Therefore, zero packaging and zero waste.
No limits, no budgets
The beauty of a digital card is that there are no space limits to how much you can write. You aren’t constrained to a paper card.
So, unleash your feelings of gratitude and share your heartfelt thanks.
Contribute as little or as much as you want. If that amount is zero or hundreds. That is up to the individual’s personal situation.
Also, without a budget, organizers aren’t left ‘holding the bag.”
In other words, they’re not accountable for a specific item was intended as the gift and prices changed, or someone didn’t contribute.
We use secure and trusted hosting and payment options. This protects everyones’ personal and financial information.
Digital Group Gift Benefits By The People Involved
Let’s look at the benefits of a digital group gift by the people involved in the process. First, it is helpful to consider that there is typically an organizer who is also typically a contributor. Then, there are other contributors to a group gift. And finally, a recipient, the person the gift is all about.
Benefits For The Organizer
- First, fast to organize. In about the time it takes to get a cup of coffee, you can sign-up, organize an Appreciation and invite contributors. Our service is all about making life easy and fast.
- Easy automation of reminders. We send you reminders, so you don’t have to think about this.
- No collection of money. Yes! Let the service do this for you. Now you don’t need to collect cash into various accounts (Venmo, Square Cash, Paypal, paper cash) and reconcile all of this or track it down.
- Eliminates the decision of what gift to give. This can cause stress and feel political sometimes. That all goes away when you offer the recipient the gift of choice.
- No need for a budget. No gift item, no budget. Contributors will give what they feel they can and should.
- Don’t need to pry, nag, or remind. This can be the biggest challenge of organizing a group gift. We eliminate that by doing the work for you.
- Finally, no shame or guilt. In other words, you won’t be causing any discomfort in other contributors because you aren’t in the middle of collecting money, chasing people down, making late contributions, or any of the infinite sensitivities that can arise.
How the Recipient Benefits
- First, significance and impact. As mentioned earlier, the one thing we consistently hear at The Appreciation Company is that recipients want two things: notes of appreciation that are deeply meaningful and a gift balance they can redeem for what they want when they want it.
- Practical. Convert a balance to merchants of the recipient’s choice or a Visa Cash Card.
- Forever and accessible. Unlike eGiftCards or paper cards that might have a short note or get tossed in the trash/recycle, a recipient can view their Appreciation Album at any time in the future.
- Zero Bias. Our service anonymizes the contribution amount and only displays a balance in aggregate. This eliminates bias or perceived influence.
- Albums that act as a bank of goodwill that can be drawn upon when needed. In this post-COVID world, with many facing burnout, these are challenging times for many, and there will likely be more dark times in the future. If more people knew how much they were appreciated and could draw upon/retrieve that goodwill.
- Finally, zero clutter and waste. Appreciation Albums and balances don’t clutter desks, cupboards, or shelves.
Benefits For The Contributors
- First, fast and convenient. As easy as a single transaction with Venmo, Paypal, SquareCash, or just using apple pay or your debit card. If you can type a text message, you can leave a meaningful note for the recipient.
- No Shame. Contributors can give what they feel they want and should. Someone else doesn’t know what was or wasn’t given.
- Never Late. Appreciations can be contributed to after the target date. There isn’t a rush or guilt that you missed a deadline or inconvenienced someone else.
- Finally, stay in contact in the future. You can send a message to the recipient years in the future. Have you ever wanted to say ‘thanks’ to a teacher or coach, but it has been years, and you aren’t in touch?
Cons of a digital group gift
Dependence On Technology
Using a digital solution for group gifts requires access to a computer or smartphone and an internet connection.
Group Gift Fees
Servers and services do cost money to operate. Therefore, small fees do add to the overall cost of the gift.
Risk of Scams
As with any online transaction, there is a risk of scams or fraud when using a digital group gift solution. Therefore, it’s essential to conduct research and select a reputable service. Yes, The Appreciation Company is reputable.
Loss of Personal Touch
Even with the emphasis on meaning through personal notes, some people may prefer the personal touch of traditional gifts.
On the other hand, digital group gifts may lack this element of a physical connection.
Overall, the pros and cons of digital group gifts depend on the specific needs and preferences of the group.
While digital group gifts can offer speed, efficiency, sustainability, and other benefits, there may be better options for some.
Side-by-Side Comparison: Manual Group Gift Approach vs. Using the Appreciation Company
|Organizing a Group Gift Yourself (Manual)||Gifting Tasks||The Appreciation Company|
|Typically in-person. The organizer will need to purchase gifts and cards and get them signed by the contributors.||Delivering gifts to recipients||Automated delivery. The Appreciation Company provides a digital card that can be printed and presented to the recipients.|
|The organizer must collect contributions by a specific deadline. Missed contributions or late contributions (such as after the gift or gift card was purchased) can affect the experience of the organizer and the recipient.||Setting a deadline (date and time) for contributions||N/A – Individuals can contribute before or after the deadline. The recipient accumulates a balance they can redeem when they want and at merchants of their choice.|
|The gift determines the budget, or the budget and actual contributions determine what gift is given. Padding might be required. Ex: an Organizer requests $20 per person even though only $15 is needed because only some contribute. Or the organizer makes up the difference themselves.|
Choosing a gift and setting a budget
|N/A – The recipient accumulates a balance that can be redeemed for eGift cards.|
Contributors can give as much as they want based on their means and gratitude felt towards the recipient.
|The organizer needs a system to know who contributed and how much. Then they will send reminders to the whole group or messages to those who haven’t contributed yet.|
Tracking who contributed and sending reminders to contribute
|Automated (optional) – We are building a feature where the Appreciation Company sends reminders to gift contributors. Once someone contributes, they won’t receive additional reminders.|
|The organizer might thank contributors by sending another message to the whole group or to each contributor individually.|
|Automated – We send a quick thank you that lets contributors know their gift has been added to the recipient’s balance, and their optional notes and photos have been added to the album.|
|The organizer publishes their personal Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, or Square Cash accounts and collects their personal bank account contributions.|
|Each contributor goes through a secure checkout with their preferred payment method. Then, an email receipt is automatically sent to their preferred contact and their funds are automatically added to the recipient’s total balance.|
|Only when a card is passed around, and there is enough time and space to write a note.|
Contributors share personal notes
|Contributors can write personal notes of Appreciation up to 2,000 characters —the equivalent of 10 to 15 sentences.|
|Maybe.||Contributors share pictures w/ Recipient||Contributors can add a photo that captures the feeling of gratitude for the recipient. This photo accompanies the personal note shared.|
|N/A. The organizer has to write an email from scratch.|
Email template for the organizer to invite contributors
|The Appreciation Company provides an email template that asks contributors to appreciate the recipient.|
|N/A. The organizer has to write a text from scratch.|
Text template for the organizer to invite contributors
|The Appreciation Company provides a text template that asks contributors to appreciate the recipient.|
|The organizer must send out manual reminders with their chosen communication method.|
Sending reminders to contributors
|(Optional) The Appreciation Company sends reminders to the organizer.|
|The organizer needs a system to record how much is collected from each contributor across each payment provided.|
Reconciling the collections
|N/A – you don’t need to do this anymore with The Appreciation Company|
|This might happen in the moment, or the recipient can send thank-you cards or emails.|
Thanking the contributors (from the recipient)
|The recipient can thank the contributors and share with them how meaningful the Appreciation is with a single click and an optional personal note.|
|The recipient would need to keep the card and have the gift on hand to access the appreciation.|
Accessing the memory of appreciation in the future
|We store the notes and photos in digital albums indefinitely.|
Overall, a digital group gift service like The Appreciation Company has many benefits.
One of the most significant advantages of using a digital solution for group gift-giving is convenience.
Stop trying to wrangle a group of people together to figure out what to get, make a plan, and exchange money.
Instead, use digital platform allows everyone to contribute and participate wherever they happen to be at that moment.
Finally, in addition to the convenience and flexibility of digital group gift-giving platforms, we are a more organized and streamlined process.
Below is a link to a free guide to help you how to organize a group gift yourself. Enjoy!
How to Organize a Group Gift Like a Boss
Hey busy parents! Make life easier with our best tips and tricks for organizing a group gift! Our free guide gives you everything from timelines to templates. By signing up, we’ll stay in touch via email.