For six years now DSA has helped coordinate the donation of millions of dollars in products and cash to the TODAY Show Holiday Gift Drive. This year 25 DSA member companies donated a total of more than $15.7 million, with a cummulative six-year total exceeding $52 million!
I’ve been fortunate enough to have gone to New York each of the past six years to present the donation live on the TODAY Show. Each year has been a great experience personally and professionally, but most of all, it’s just really rewarding to know that you’ve made a difference.
So how did it start? The Monday after Thanksgiving in 2004 I was cheerily chewing my Cheerios one morning when I saw someone being interviewed on the show about their donation to the Toy Drive. Something clicked in my head as a remembered a conversation I’d had just the week before with one of our members looking for a company that could come to their warehouse to remove and destroy dozens of pallets of merchandise from the previous season’s catalog. “What a shame and a waste of perfectly good merchandise!” I had thought. Bingo! If one company had all that perfectly usable inventory they wished would vanish – so must other companies. That very morning I put out a call to our companies with a goal of collecting $1 million in products. Before the week was over, I had collected more than $2 million in donations.
And every year since then, more and more companies have participated in the drive, donating everything from a single product to more than 300,000 of a single item – all distributed to more than 200 organizations around the country that will see to it that the products get into the hands of people in need of a bit of cheer during the holidays.
The win-win-win this program creates is obvious, but I have to say, it’s also really exciting to get to be part of the fun on the TODAY Show. Sitting on “the couch” inside the studio this year was great (I’ve been interviewed out on the plaza the previous five years) and the chance to interact with the hosts of the show and the production staff makes it clear why they always look like they’re having such a great time – because they are!
Throughout the next month at least nine other direct selling companies will be on-air to present their donations. Each and every one of them should be proud of the difference they’re making just by doing a little housekeeping in their warehouses!