As we scurry around to complete our holiday gift lists, let’s take some time to think about gifts in general and what they mean to us. A gift is more than its material value. Sometimes the least expensive gift has the most value to us because of who it came from and their good intentions. It’s a symbolic gesture that says, “You are important to me, and I care about you.” This makes the recipient of your gift feel good, and makes you feel good as well.

People ask us why we spent so much time and energy supporting worthy causes when we were growing the Barefoot Wine brand. When we began, we had no funds for marketing, so we gave to non-profits and community fundraisers that we believed in to get the word out about our product. As our brand grew, we expanded into new territories, and used our market presence to promote their causes. Eventually as we became more profitable and could even afford paid advertising, we chose not to and instead continued our support of worthy causes because it made us and our staff feel good.

There really is a “Joy of Giving.” This holiday season, why not give a gift to your favorite worthy cause? Your gift of funds or volunteerism make you feel like you’re making the world a better place. And you are. We found it satisfying and empowering that we could make a difference, and you will too.

The common denominator for most celebrations this time of year is Humanitarianism – the concept that we are all connected on this planet and that we all have an interest in the same goals that support our existence, better our lives, and address our challenges.

These causes run the gamut from health to education, from next generation to senior care, from conservation to preservation of wildlife. Within each cause are many non-profit organizations to choose from in your neighborhood and around the world. Here are just a few examples of our favorite conservation causes.

1. Clean Beaches (and Oceans). The Surfrider Foundation has been the true guardians of our coasts for decades. They have tirelessly waged a campaign to make beaches and oceans safe for you and your children. Volunteers are doing the work, and they need our support.

2. Water Conservation. The Mono Lake Committee was effective in getting the huge Los Angeles metropolitan area to go from seven gallon per flush toilets to one gallon per flush toilets. What a water savings! Their battle to save one of the two oldest salt water lakes in North America from disappearing has had positive effects on the bird migration flyway as well as the humans who use the water.

3. Preservation. “Keep Tahoe Blue” is the slogan for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. They have been around since the 1930’s with the mission to save one of the most pristine lakes in the country. They have been challenged yet successful in sustaining the clarity of the lake over the years, but every time there is a recession, there is more pressure to develop the basin. Their educational campaign to preserve this national gem deserves our support.

What worthy causes are important to you? What non-profits within those causes would you feel good about donating time or money to this holiday season? Even a token amount will give you surprising satisfaction.

By making a commitment to improving the lives of other people and our environment, you say, “What you are doing is important to me.” Take pleasure in The Joy of the Holidays with the Joy of Giving!

Who We Are.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.