Zen stones stacked up in the foreground of a placid lake

The Secret to Group Gifting: Inspire a Zen Experience for All

Group gifting is a thoughtful way to celebrate special occasions and show appreciation to loved ones, teachers, coaches, and other important people in our lives.

But let’s admit it.

Organizing a group gift can be challenging and overwhelming, especially in our busy, hair on fire lives. 

This group gifting article aims to help you create a zen experience for all involved: organizers, contributors, and recipients.

We can do this by bringing clarity and control to the experience and providing guidance on what to consider for everyone involved. 

Table of Contents

What Does Zen Feel Like?

Be Present

Decide on the How

Decide on the Who

Use Time Strategically

Focus on Connections

Set and Enforce Boundaries

Live in Gratitude

What Does Zen Feel Like?

When I need to feel zen, here’s what I envision.

I’m at the botanical gardens on a spring day of my youth. The sun is shining, yet it isn’t too hot and isn’t too bright.

I’m sitting on a blanket under a tree. My bare feet just touching the grass. A light breeze swirls. Birds sing. Puffy clouds slowly stream by high overhead.

I smell the fresh blooming flowers all around. I don’t feel any urgency or desire to do anything except breathe, feel the warmth of the day, and the flow of time.

People occasionally pass by, yet their footfalls and conversation seem distant. The one I love most is with me and it feels simply perfect in that moment. 

Were you able to picture that with me?

Do you have your own zen moment you can call up from time to time?

Everyone’s moments of zen are different. We can extract the essence enshrined in that moment.

The essence of zen moments can be applied to group gifting. This is in contrast to the most common experiences of group gifting. One that is full of hassles, stress, and simmering resentment.

There is a better way, and after years (and years) of organizing group gifts, I found my zen.

In today’s blog, we’ll dive into the following:

  • Be present
  • The ‘how’ of the moment
  • The ‘who’ of the moment
  • Understand the flow of time
  • Be grounded in connection
  • Have boundaries
  • Be grateful

With the following approach, I’ll provide guidance that will help you when organizing, coordinating, or participating in group gifting, from start to finish.

You might be in the process of seeking group gift ideas for a wedding, a baby shower, a birthday, or another special occasion. This guide can help make the process stress-free and zen.

Be Present

The Downside of Group Gifting

Take a second right now to identify how you feel–both physically and emotionally–about group-gifting.

Identify the mental thoughts and physical sensations in your body.

Do your feelings tend towards the positive spectrum of emotions or the negative end of the spectrum? Are these new feelings or old feelings?

Let’s acknowledge that organizing a group gift is typically a challenging and tedious task.

The act of organizing takes your precious time. It can place you in awkward or uncomfortable situations and conversations. It requires follow-up, organizational skills, and patience.

In addition, the benefit to you, the organizer, is diluted by the fact that it is a group activity. Yet, the ‘Thank you’ expressed by the recipient is divided across all the contributors–even though you did most of the work. 

If you have negative feelings about group gifting, your feelings are valid.

The Upsides of Group Gifting

A group gift has many upsides. We wouldn’t keep doing them as a society if it didn’t.

For example, resources are pooled for increased impact for the recipient. The organizer often brings more people to participate than would have otherwise participated without the act of organizing.

In doing this, we increase the engagement of the community. 

A less-considered impact is the power of a collective message from a group. A collective message brings amplified meaning for the recipient. 

It is healthy to feel a sense of accomplishment for what you are about to undertake. Enjoy the feeling of a job that is about to be well done. 

Decide the How

When I say “how,” I’m not speaking about the mechanical work of organizing a group gift.

Instead, I’m addressing the style in your approach to the group gifting process.

Decide how you will show up to your next group gifting task.

Will you take a graceful approach that feels easy and natural to yourself and others?

Or will you let the process become rocky, bumpy, and a weedy mess?

Will you bring chaos to the task or control it?

A graceful approach takes work and preparation. We can make things look accessible to others and know the effort put in to gain the outcome.

That zen garden we imagined before didn’t have weeds in the soil, untended branches on trees, or broken paths without proper tending and preparation.

Simone Biles doesn’t make a double-double on the beam look easy without control and tons of preparation. 

This moment of creating zen within yourself is a crucial part of your preparation.

Free Download: Make Group Gifting Easier

Decide on the Who

There are two key additional actors in the group-gifting experience:

  1. The Recipient
  2. The Contributors 

For the recipient, gifts must be meaningful. To be meaningful, they must be personalized to the individual and have the proper context.

For example, let’s say you’re organizing a classroom gift for your child’s teacher.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you know the teacher well enough to choose chocolate, coffee, or decor as an organizer?
  • Based on what you know about the teacher, will these gifts spark a positive emotional resonance?
  • Will these gifts accomplish the intended impact on the teacher you seek?

For any gift idea, make sure you know the recipient well enough to know if a gift like chocolate, coffee, or decor will be meaningful to them.

If you don’t know enough about the recipient to know if those gifts would be meaningful for them, it’s time to consider another gift.

A zen group gifting experience is one that’s meaningful for recipients and chaos-free for contributors.

In your context, what could be the source of drama and chaos? Is it what to get? It is how to give the gift?

If you know who is involved, you should also know their character and can anticipate the outcomes of their participation. 

The most significant disruption to the zen of group gifting is contributors who don’t contribute and don’t do it timely.

Anticipate and preempt these scenarios wherever possible.

Free Tool to Support a Zen Group Gifting Experience

The most meaningful, least stressful group gifting experiences are very impactful on recipients and eliminate the stress and hassle that givers often have to endure.

My wife and I have organized group gifts for our children’s teachers, club leaders, coaches, and more for many years.

This process would stress us out until we put together The Gift Giving Effectiveness Matrix, which you can download for free here.

Use Time Strategically

Time is a powerful tool when harnessed and channeled properly. It can motivate some people to act with urgency while paralyzing others.

Wherever possible, grant yourself the power to use time in your favor. Figure out how it will affect your process.

Group gifting tasks that you need to consider when creating deadlines and managing expectations:

  • Deciding on what to give and the budget for that gift. 
  • Collecting money from all contributors and accommodating the various ways people want to contribute–Venmo, cash, check, CashApp, etc.
  • Getting a card signed by the group.
  • Delivering the group gift to the recipient.

Focus on Connections

As an organizer of group gifting, you are a connector and are connected.

You are helping others do the good they want to do.

Fostering the bonds of community is part of what you’re doing.

Remember the connections you’re forging and strengthening whenever you feel stress during this process.

Stay in that space. Know your work’s importance to the recipient, the other contributors, and the surrounding community.

Set and Enforce Boundaries

I had a choice when people passed by in the garden in my zen vision.

I could let them intrude on my experience or integrate them into the experience.

Integrating them into the experience, i.e., not fighting against their presence, helped me preserve my zen state.

I had to set and enforce that boundary. The same principle applies to the group gifting process.

A healthy relationship with your boundaries lets you control what you are willing and unwilling to do when organizing a group gift.

When creating your own boundaries in the group gift process, establish who will…

  • Decide on the gift?
  • Collect the money?
  • Purchase the gift? 
  • Purchase the card?
  • Get everyone to sign the card. 
  • Send reminder emails or texts to the group.
  • Deliver the gift?

Set these expectations and communicate them to the group.

When you stay within your boundaries, you can’t lose your zen.

Live in Gratitude

You are organizing a group gift to appreciate someone for who they are and what they do.

The act of putting gratitude into action is a powerful mechanism for creating happiness. It might just be the most robust gratitude practice of them all.

This is because we are innately wired to feel gratitude towards someone because they have done us right–through their words, action, and being.

We are innately wired to reciprocate in a meaningful way. You are activating a powerful happiness chain for the contributors and the recipient.

Take stock of what you just accomplished. It is no trivial act.

Download our Free Guide to Simple Group Gifting

If you’d like a way to super-power your zen, download our “How to Group Gift Like a Boss” It is the How-to of How-tos on this subject.

Our guide is replete with specific, time-driven steps, an outreach email and SMS template, how-tos on reminders, and more.

Everything in this guide is built into The Appreciation Company service. You got this!

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