11/09/2010 05:32 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

To Gift Or to Give?

Have you noticed that the holiday shopping season has started earlier than ever this year? While spending may boost the economy, how much more "stuff" do we all really need? Are there better ways to express our love and gratitude to the people we care about? You bet there are! In his latest column on philanthropy, "This Holiday, Consider Giving Instead of Gifting" Bruce DeBoskey provides ideas and concrete resources. Even if your family, like mine, enjoys giving and receiving gifts, we have many non-profit ventures to purchase from, like the local Women's Bean Project, or Ten Thousand Villages non-profit stores. One of the most memorable gifts my daughter has received was the symbolic adoption of a penguin from World Wildlife Fund.

During tough economic times like these, many people may find it difficult to scrape together a donation for the causes they care about. But holidays or special events, when we are already planning to spend money on a gift, present an opportune occasion. Buying gifts that support charities allows us to help create positive change in the world at the same time.

One of the great misconceptions we face is the assumption that we must be wealthy in order to be philanthropic. "Philanthropy [is] not just for the wealthy," argued DeBoskey in his column debut in August. The column appears monthly in the Business section of The Denver Post, and it just may be the only column of its kind to appear in a major newspaper. Each month, the column concludes by featuring a Colorado nonprofit of the month.

I recently had the opportunity to ask DeBoskey a few questions about this new endeavor.

What was the impetus for this column?

I believed there was a need to cover the basics of philanthropy other than on the Society pages of the newspaper. Hence, it is in the Business Section and addresses issues surrounding the philosophy of philanthropy, how to give with greater impact, how to select the nonprofits to which to give, how businesses, families and foundations can better organize their giving around specific goals, and how to find the joy and meaning in giving. Many people who are, or want to be, philanthropic, don't know how to make the impact on their community, or nation, or world that they'd like to make. I hope to encourage more philanthropy in Colorado by inspiring, teaching and leading others on giving.

Non-profits receive the majority of their donations from individuals earning moderate incomes. DeBoskey knows this from experience:
For almost nine years I served as the Regional Director of the Mountain States Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League. In that capacity, I managed and led a 100+ person Board of Directors, spearheaded fundraising efforts which raised millions of dollars from businesses, families and foundations, developed programs to implement our mission, and served as the lead media spokesperson for advocacy initiatives with our organization.

Given this background, DeBoskey's column is aimed at:
anyone, of any means, who wants to change the world according to their vision and is willing to donate their time or their treasure to accomplishing that goal.

How did your experience in the social profit sector lead you to envision this column?
I see a great need for businesses, families and foundations to be more strategic, collaborative, purposeful, and impactful with their philanthropy and hope this column helps them refine their approach to giving.

We all have resources to share, whether it is our money, time or talent.