How Santa Gets It Done

We are entering the most wonderful time of the year.  It is a season of celebrations, recognition and gift giving.  Being in the non-profit space for decades, I have dozens of good friends to celebrate, recognize and give gifts.

AGift by front doors you think about the coming season, which is already busy with family, festivities and fundraising, how do you find time to coordinate gift giving to the people who have impacted your work?  This is a challenge for anyone working with people — insurance, sales, fundraising, real estate, etc.

Here are three C’s, three M’s and three G’s that provide a step-by-step plan for executing a successful gift-giving season for your clients, donors or customers.

C — Communicate.  Start by letting folks know that you are going to be in their area.  See if you can set up a time to meet.   Let them know that you want to give them a gift and have the opportunity to say, “Thanks,” face-to-face.

C – Connect.  When you communicate, let them know that you want to connect.  Meetings are preferred.  If you can’t meet face-to-face, let them know you are going to connect by dropping a gift by their office or home.

C – Cause.  Gift giving gives you a reason to meet with folks.  It isn’t easy to meet with busy schedules.  The good news is that people are more open to grab a meal or coffee even during this busy holiday season.  Gift giving can cause a meeting.

M – Map.  Be effective in the use of your time and fuel during this busy season by mapping a tight route.  There are a couple of programs that are helpful.  If you have more than four or five stops, use BatchGeo or Drive Smart Driving Route Planner.  With four or less, I would just use Google Maps.

M – Meet.  You’ve prepared, now meet. Hopefully you’ll have a number of scheduled individual meetings, but don’t be discouraged if you do not.  Drop-by’s are fine.

Meeting people at the door during a “drop by” takes an aptitude for quickly reading people.  Some don’t like anyone at their front door.  Others may invite you in for a drink.  When you meet folks at the door, read and react.  My rule is always, don’t be weird. If it’s awkward, hand them the gift and say, “Thanks.”  That is fine.

If you are dropping off the gift at the office and do not have a meeting, I simply drop it with the front desk or assistant.  I won’t interrupt most people’s work days with an unscheduled meeting.  I just haven’t found it fruitful.  I do spend a few minutes at the front desk, getting to know the receptionist and hope for an invitation…”Oh, she’s not busy, let’s just have you give it to them.”

M – Mat.  As for dropping it off at the house, if you go to the door and no one is there, leave the gift on the front door mat.  Obviously, make sure it’s a dry space.  Don’t leave it in a USPS mailbox as that is a federal crime (it’s true).  Also, don’t leave perishables on the mat or they will be a gift to the squirrels and a mess for your contact.

G – Go.  Once you’ve given or dropped the gift, go.  Walk to your car and drive away immediately.  No need rush, but get out of there.  Driving between places takes a level of coordination and you can’t (shouldn’t) do that work while driving.  Just drive away from the house, get around the corner, pull to the side and then do your coordination.  Doing it in front of the house just looks sketch and can lead to more awkward…no one needs more awkward.

G – Gloat.  While pulled over to the side coordinating your next stop, send a quick email or phone call to your last stop and gloat.  Don’t really gloat, but let them know that you have dropped off a gift at their front door and they should make sure and pick it up.  This is only for “drop-bys.”  If you met the person send a thank you note in the mail saying, “Thanks for meeting…”

G – Get it.  You will do many stops over this extended period of time, so whatever system you use, i.e. database, notebook, Salesforce, note that the delivery has been made.  Get it down in the system or on paper.

I don’t know how Santa Claus does it, but this is a way you can get it done.  The good news is that you have more than one night. Use the three C’s, three M’s and three G’s and celebrate a happy new year when this whirlwind of a season is done.

Start the gift giving by sharing this blog post with those you know who are in sales (insurance, real estate), fundraising/development or non-profit leadership.

Merry gift giving.


What About Bob’s Podcast?

Bob-Lonac Podcastd

“The Flourishing Culture Podcast” by Best Christian Workplace Institute (BCWI) recently published a list of their second season’s top episodes.  According to the listeners, the session with our very own CRISTA Ministries’ President Bob Lonac was listed as one of the top five podcasts for non-profit leaders this season.

The podcast with Bob and BCWI President Al Lopus focused on how leaders build a culture of trust and open communication.

Each week, “The Flourishing Culture Podcast” brings timely, transformative truths from the Christian workplace that leaders can use to build a flourishing culture and a thriving organization.

CRISTA and BCWI have a strong history.  CRISTA Ministries has been named a Best Christian Workplace by BCWI every year since 2013.  BCWI We serve created a processes of discovery, facilitating organizational effectiveness at CRISTA.  They’ve developed practices that have built a flourishing workplace.

Look for “The Flourishing Culture Podcast” wherever you get your pods or listen to the episode with Bob by clicking here.


This post is an extended article from the November Life on the Rutledge enewsletter.  To subscribe to the monthly enewsletter, click here.

Nutella’s Cousin Saving Kids

A distant foreign cousin of Nutella is changing the world. It goes by the name Plumpy’Nut, PlumpyDoz or PlumpySup and it is more than just a family favorite on the shelf, like Nutella…this stuff actually saves lives.

Plumpy’Nut, inspired by the popular hazelnut spread, was invented by a French pediatric nutritionist. The combination of peanut paste, vegetable oil and milk powder is packed with vitamins and dietary minerals.

It has been called a miracle paste and is given to malnourished kids.  It helps eliminate painful hunger. It fills tummies with gentle, easy to digest, powerful nutrition.

Plumpy Dough PicWorld Concern works with families, communities and partnering agencies to identify malnourished children and provide emergency nutrition packets.  Together we develop a system to introduce nutrients to these hungry kids.  Plumpy’Nut and it’s “nutty” family of similar products then goes to work.

We see kids go from emaciated to energetic as they pursue a program of simple additives in a foil wrapped, thick, yet soft bar.  It costs only $11 to provide one-month’s supply of these RUTF (Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food) packets, like Plumpy’Nut.  To learn more about World Concern’s work with this miracle peanut paste watch this short video.

This last week we sent a package of Plumpy’Nut to some of the folks who have financial underwritten our work.  I hope you received a package in your mailbox and get your hands on this simple miracle.

If you feel like giving to our current work to get these RUTFs to children in Somalia, you can give by clicking here.


This post is an extended article from the November Life on the Rutledge enewsletter.  To subscribe to the monthly enewsletter, click here.

Seattle-King County Prayer Breakfast: Intergenerational Leadership

One of the primary ways God is moving in Western Washington is in the integration of faith in the workplace.  The human construct of “ministry” as pastor or parish has been replaced by ministry reflected in your place and profession.

The movement has grown through the careful curating of business leaders, genuinely responsive church leadership (way to go, First Presbyterian Bellevue) and a handful of organizations, like KIROS or C3 Forum.

Prayer BreakfastThe Christmas or Easter event of this movement is the annual Seattle-King County Prayer Breakfast.  These attendees may be on the fringe of a C3 group or occasionally attend a KIROS breakfast, but the Seattle-King County Prayer Breakfast they attend regularly.

This year’s Prayer Breakfast was held this morning at the Seattle Sheraton.

The targeted purpose of this year’s event was intergenerational friendship.  It was stated that the average age of Seattle is 35-years old.  Young professionals are streaming into the region for new jobs and the Northwest lifestyle.  They are moving into the neighborhoods of a long-term population made up of experienced leaders steeped in generosity and innovation.  It is in this unique mix that the Prayer Breakfast invited us to engage.  There is a grand opportunity for generation-to-generation impact.

The keynote was from long-time Seattle attorney, Skip Li.  Here are a few of my notes from his talk…

Intergenerational Friendships

  • I found in these (intergenerational) friendships, like a love relationship, that there is a discovery process.
  • The deeper I get into (intergenerational) friendships, the more I learn about myself…I learn what I need to act on in my life.
  • Investment is the wrong word for a friendship with a young person…Friendship works in the exact opposite actions of exchange, agenda.
  • Skip offered his “Four Rules” here.  He did them so fast that I will have to post them after I am able to find them elsewhere…like maybe the bathroom of the Ave. House where he said they were posted.

Need for Development of Moral Intelligence

  • Moral compasses are so skewed today that they no longer function in the world.
  • We live in a bewildering moral wilderness…church or family can only take you so far…So, how do you do it?
  • Moral intelligence is the ability to live life doing the right thing regardless of the current environment.
  • Moral intelligence finds a way of out of confusion…It uses these roads:
    • The Road of Humility,
    • The Road of Sacrifice and
    • The Road of Faith… Roads that our culture long ago abandoned.


  • Remember the poor.
  • Pray for the poor.
  • Psalm 71.17-18

It was a powerful message and echoed in the introduction offered by Senior Associate of Centered, Jeff Vancil, “Don’t underestimate the power of simple friendship – it is the strategy of God.”