January 20, 2022

Author: Gina Hays; Director of Communications & Development


The trend of giving donations to a favorite charity in lieu of gifts for a birthday, wedding, anniversary, retirement, holiday or other celebratory occasion is a win-win for the honoree and the non-profit. For the philanthropically minded, the community conscious, the person who has everything, or the person who hates surprises, gifts to charity are a great option. This type of gifting is suitable to a variety of traditional situations where gift-giving is commonplace and can also be incorporated into more non-traditional gift giving situations like open houses and dinner parties. Donations can be in cash or supplies, donated to a favorite charity or a charity of the donor’s choice.

For the non-profit, there can never be a surplus of resources. Such gifts can often fill a gap in program or special project funding. For example, a volunteer might direct funds to the program they volunteer for. These donation appeals also introduce new potential supporters to the organization. Non-profit organizations prefer introductions to potential donors through mutual friends, as a warm-handed approach to fundraising.

More and more charities are making this giving option easier for the party-thrower through customized software allowing users to create their own peer-to-peer events. Online invitation sites are increasingly making this an option as well. Evite shares that the average donation amount is larger when tied to an event. Even Punchbowl has some etiquette tips for the planning host.

One of Families First’s board members, Nancy, likes to celebrate big and entertain friends. Last summer, she was celebrating many occasions – a move to a new house, a recent retirement, and a birthday. Nancy saw an opportunity to help Families First fulfill some of the items on the emergency pantry and wish list. She hosted an open house. Asking ‘no gifts please!’ for herself, she requested that attendees purchase a wish list item and either bring it or have it sent to us through Amazon. She sent the wish list along with her invitation to friends, former co-workers, neighbors, and church acquaintances. It was the perfect summer party with great finger foods! Her invitees did not disappoint, they brought items…and shopping bags…and cases of everything from granola bars to diapers and gift cards.

For wedding couples who may already have well-established households, ‘the spruce’ offers best practices for the couple. Their 5-step guide covers everything you need to know to make it personal and efficient for you and your guests.

There are even options for the non-event. Facebook has gotten into this game. You can create and customize a Facebook fundraiser to post on your own Facebook page. Use for a birthday or just-because. And last year Instagram rolled out their version. You can now add an Instagram ‘donation sticker’ anywhere on your story.

Consider how you might put a little magic into your community or causes near to your heart for your next celebration.