The Giving Board

By Mike Johnson

The candy store was a beacon in this small Wisconsin town.
Siren has a population of 830 people. On this Sunday afternoon, only about a dozen were visible downtown.

As my buddy bought some gourmet popcorn, I wandered toward the bulletin board. I expected to see notices for puppies, tractors or a VFW fish fry.
Instead, I found a “Giving Board.”

Instructions encouraged people to use the board to give things away. Free bicycles, furniture and clothing were popular items posted.

But the storekeeper added an ingenious angle. She also up-sold gift cards to customers as they made a purchase. If you bought an ice cream cone, she’d ask if you wanted to donate another cone to the Giving Board. She’d then hand over a free cone notice to be placed on her board, along with the name of the person who donated. Now anyone could enter the store, grab the notice and cash it in for a free cone. Plus they knew who gave the gift.

The genius of the idea, according to the many free notices on the board, was that there were far more givers than takers. Customers felt good from the giving, the shop owner gained more sales and everyone in town knew where to go to look for freebies.

Candy shops are already delightful. This one added the vibes of care, concern and community. I was in love with this entire experience.

So I couldn’t resist. I hid one of my little treasure chests in the city park and posted the clue card on the Giving Board. Some random person had no idea they’d soon be going on a treasure hunt.

Five minutes later, from my parked location across the street, I saw a father & his little boy pull the clue card off the board. Perfect.

I drove away smiling, feeling every bit as warm and blessed as that shop owner must’ve felt when she nailed up that Giving Board.

What a great idea!

Would it work at your business?



So I Hid This Treasure...


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