We’ve reached the heart of the giving season and like many of you, I sometimes have my laptop open while I’m finishing off the evening with Stephen Colbert, surfing for a gift that might have a special meaning. There are some cool things out there. Did you know that Boney M once put out a Christmas album? I wonder if I can locate an LP. And Amazon even has a Nic Cage throw pillow. In suede! Wow.

But if you’re looking for a unique, memorable, super-meaningful gift, I do want to remind you about #teamgranola. It’s something you could request for yourself or order for your family or friends. It’s delicious, nutritious, full of variety, lasts all year, and best of all puts you at the heart and soul and strategic center of everything we are trying to do at Beautiful Day.

Some background: Beautiful Day (then Providence Granola Project) actually started as a subscription club (we called it Granola of the Month Club) way back in the holiday season of 2008 before the whole food subscription thing really took off. I had no idea we were at the front end of a Birchbox inspired marketing craze—we just did it because the format made it possible for us to schedule some production dates, experiment with some new recipes, and hire one refugee, a woman named Berita. Over the years we adapted the format to fit our limited tech capabilities (subscriptions are complicated!) usually as a pay-in-advance plan, but the concept helped shape us and became the impetus for me to invent and feature a new recipe every month.

Even now our current iteration that we call #teamgranola is central to our whole message and mission. Beautiful Day is built on a belief that every person should be able to do something positive and practical about human displacement. With nearly 70 million people in our world forcibly displaced from their homes and sometimes countries, this issue touches the core of our humanity. One reason I was drawn to granola (and now coffee!) as a product is because it was healthy, delicious, satisfying, and could be enjoyed every day. DAILY! By connecting granola with a mission, it opened a door for a mission that allows all of us to do something together about human displacement every single day.

The reason #teamgranola is still at the center of our work is because it draws together and integrates all the different aspects of our mission into a partnership model.

Here’s how it works. When you subscribe to (or send a gift) to #teamgranola you become an essential partner in a several ways:

1) You help create a consistent, predictable demand for our products. Having this kind of stability makes building a training program and a business so much easier. Our goal has been 300 members because this would create a center of momentum and traction for our business efforts.

2) Your monthly order then contributes to a necessity for work which in turn makes our on-the-job training viable and necessary. Building our program around real work is essential to our mission. With real work to do, participants aren’t just learning in an abstract vacuum but mastering basic skills as a vital part of a production team.

3) As you and others eat the granola, you are literally coming close to refugees. Those degrees of separation between consumer and maker shrink. This might sound a little touchy-feely, but at least on our end it's really meaningful. Our trainees are proud to make a product that people love to eat. They want it to be great and love knowing it was appreciated and enjoyed.

4) Another way we try to minimize the distance is by including a story with each shipment of granola. These days we make a simple card with a picture of a recent trainee on one side, their story on the other. These stories are critical to our mission of engaging our communities in resettlement. We hope #teamgranola members will share them with their families, put them on their fridges, hang them up in their offices, use them to start conversations. We have good relationships with refugee communities and deep access to compelling stories. As the program and membership grows, we know there will be opportunities for these stories to reach further and impact others.

5) You also become a genuine financial partner in our mission. If you look at our prices you’ll notice that joining #teamgranola is by far our lowest price for granola or bars. In fact we charge only a bit more than basic costs, but then invite subscribers to donate something extra towards program expenses like training, supports (e.g. transportation home from our kitchen), and case management. The donation portion is always tax deductible. While this pricing structure is unconventional, it clarifies the partnership model. By allowing each person to choose their donation level, memberships are more accessible for a variety of incomes. Some members give the $2 minimum while others give as much as $50 or $75 per month—far beyond the cost of granola itself. We provide year-end receipts for all donations, regardless of the amount.

There’s a lot more information on our #Teamgranola page and a handy FAQ here. We know we are still at the beginning of developing this model so we’re open to your marketing savvy. We’re especially excited about providing the service to offices and small businesses as well as faith groups. As we get more sophisticated with our communications, we’ll be able to do a lot more with this concept. For now we’re thrilled to be building an essential team of partners and we hope you’ll consider joining or gifting or requesting a gift-membership. #Teamgranola can be found here.

Written by Keith Cooper

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