Gifting, and more broadly the act of giving, has taken on a whole new meaning in recent months. Whether it’s giving of our time to help the community, giving a gift as a random act of kindness or sending a gift to celebrate a milestone, the act of honoring others is more important than ever. These are unprecedented times that have made us reflect on what truly is important — to put aside routine practices and just help. The byproduct is positives for both the receiver and the giver.
Jim Rohm characterized the act of giving best. He said, “only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.” Society has often embraced this mentality, but it is more magnified now considering the health and financial struggles that so many have experienced around the globe. And many of us are motivated to give something, to gift something and not expect anything in return. However, givers receive something that is so much bigger because it delivers significant psychological benefits.
There is a psychology behind the act of gifting and giving that South University Associate Professor Devin Byrd puts into perfect perspective. Byrd notes that “gift-giving is also an act of altruism — unselfish concern for the well-being of others. When we give without expecting anything in return, we are improving our psychological health.”
We are seeing enormous giving and empathy from random individuals and corporations alike. For example, friends and neighbors using their sewing skills to make protective gear and share with their communities. College students who have finished their semesters virtually are using their spare time to offer tutoring in math or English to younger students and expecting nothing in return.
Then there are companies like Planet Fitness — which have not been able to open their doors to let thousands of members do their daily workouts or engage with trainers — offering free workouts on their mobile app, no existing membership required. The company is lending a helping hand to individuals, giving them the tools and routines they need to bolster their physical activity while staying at home.
Thanks to the power of ecommerce platforms, there are ample examples and opportunities for individuals to gift and give in customizable ways that elicit positive outcomes for giver and receiver. Customizing a gift or giving time toward something aligned to the receiver’s core interests leaves a lasting impression in the eyes of the receiver and a new level of gratification for the giver.
These examples we see today will not be lost on companies and consumers tomorrow. The idea of gifting is now becoming even more generous and thoughtful than before, as expecting something in return is now, thankfully, even more a thing of the past. Perhaps that is the silver lining in these unprecedented times.
Welcome to Gifting 2020 and Beyond. It is Better to Give than to Receive.
Jenn Muller is the Chief Marketing Officer of Loop Commerce, a Synchrony solution. With its patented digital gifting platform called GiftNow, Loop is giving retailers and brands the tools they need to help online shoppers select more thoughtful, enhanced and personalized gifts.