Gift Guide: 12 amazing gift ideas for your nonprofit staff or grantees!

Written by Vu Le

It is December, which means that many of us are thinking of gifts for the people in our lives, thanks to the joy of capitalism and consumer culture. Now, if you work in this sector, especially if you are an executive leader, board member, or funder, you may be trying to figure out the best gifts for your staff or grantees. They can be so hard to shop for! That’s why I’ve compiled a list of gifts sure to please even the most discerning of nonprofit professionals:

  1. A chair that is not held together with duct-tape and prayer: Everyone needs a chair, even people who prefer standing desks. Chances are, your team members have been sitting on chairs so crappy it may actually be hurting their physical health. Get everyone an ergonomic chair, one that is not duct-taped together to keep a family of mice from nesting in the cushion.
  2. The week between Christmas and New Year off: 80% of the sector will be closed that week, so join in the fun, shut down the office if possible, and let your entire team take those days off without eating into their PTO. For direct service orgs, staff who can’t take that week off, or those who don’t celebrate Christmas, give them the option to take equivalent time off at other points in the year of their choosing!
  3. Salary at least at the 50th percentile: For those who are truly difficult to get gifts for, this is sure to be a hit. Forget mugs, swag hoodies, gift certificates, etc., and just raise their salary to at least the average for organizations of similar size in your geographic area. For those already at the 50th percentile, you can go higher! This is a gift that your team members can enjoy not just this year, but for years to come.  
  4. A four-day work week: 4-day work weeks are all the rage this gifting season. Chic and stylish, they are sure to make even the grinchiest of grinches happy. But be sure you do it right by reducing the work load down to four days, not force your team to work the same amount of work but concentrated into a shorter period of time.
  5. You-know-who getting fired: You know the person. They have been undermining people or is generally annoying, mean, and incompetent. And yet no one will fire them, maybe because they’re a nepotism baby, who knows. Imagine the joy on your whole team’s face when they find out this person will no longer be haunting their zoom meetings! It would be a Christmas miracle!

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About the author

Vu Le

Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the former Executive Director of RVC, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities.

Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms.

Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at NonprofitAF.com.