22 answers

Asking for Donations Rather than Gifts - Is It Tacky?

I will soon be celebrating a milestone birthday and my husband wants to throw me a party. I don't want friends to bring gifts; I'd rather have them make a small donation to a local charity that I support. (The charity is secular and not political, so no one would disagree with the organization's mission.) Is it tacky to ask for donations in lieu of gifts?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I don't like receiving requests for charitable donations in this context. If you don't want gifts then write that down on the invite. By asking/suggesting people make a donation you are implying they would have bought you a gift and you are exerting control over the details of that gift giving. Even if you say "only if you want to give something......." I don't think either is appropriate. Tacky.

1 mom found this helpful

I've gotta say, after thinking about this, I'm in the camp that thinks ANY mention f gifts for an adult birthday party is just tacky. "No gifts, please!" is about all you should say.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Actually, I have to disagree with everyone who posted before me. I think any mention of gifts of any kind on an invitation is tacky. A gift is left to the discretion of the giver and no one HAS to give something specific as a gift. If you don't want gifts but would rather donations be made, have your husband spread the word when people call to RSVP, but then graciously accept whatever you receive. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful

I think it's a lovely idea.

The phrasing is key - you want to make sure that invitees don't feel obligated to donate, but if they'd like too, here's something that could honor you.

What about something like "the best gift that you can give is your friendship, so no presents please. If you wish to make a donation, please consider XYZ charity."

Happy Birthday!

4 moms found this helpful

Nope, not at all. My sister and BIL did this with the 1st birthday of their daughter recently and everyone thought it was a really neat idea. My sister chose a feed-the-children charity so it was appropriate too.

Oh, was also gonna tell you, what they wrote on the invitation was "The only presents required is your PRESENCE, but if you feel like giving we will be accepting cash donations for Feed the Children on the day of the party. Thank You." Short, sweet and to the point.

2 moms found this helpful

Not tacky at all.

We've had a few people do it for children's birthdays. We even put the following statement in our son's invitations (4 year-old's party): "Please do not feel obligated to bring a gift - your child's friendship is the most important gift he could ever receive" - to take the pressure off people who simply aren't in the financial position to get one.

But, another friend put something on her daughter's invitation that said, "No gifts please. If you'd like to make a donation in her name to the Hamilton County Humane Society, here are some of the items they're requesting". I LOVED IT!

I personally need nothing - only time with the people most important to me. I wish our culture would stop being so focused on gifts and more focused on each other.

GOOD FOR YOU! And, Happy Birthday!

1 mom found this helpful

I would prefer everyone have that attitude!

1 mom found this helpful

At most, I would put "no gifts, please". Any mention of gifts on an invitation is considered tacky. If someone asks your husband what to get you, he can let them know about the charity you like. I don't think people feel as obligated to get gifts for an adult birthday party as they do for a kid's party, anyway.

1 mom found this helpful

No. It would be tacky if you asked for cash. But if you say on the invite: Please, no gifts. People who wish to contribute can make a donation to ......... Or something like that.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't like receiving requests for charitable donations in this context. If you don't want gifts then write that down on the invite. By asking/suggesting people make a donation you are implying they would have bought you a gift and you are exerting control over the details of that gift giving. Even if you say "only if you want to give something......." I don't think either is appropriate. Tacky.

1 mom found this helpful

Just word the invitation maybe something like
"No gifts please. If you'd like to honor my birthday in anyway, we ask that you make a donation to X, a charity that I'm involved with as volunteer/that I'm a big supporter of. However, a donation is not necessary, either." (that's a bit wordy for an invitation, but, you get the idea.)

If people can list where they're registered for birthday gifts, then I think it's perfectly fine to ask instead for a donation to a charity. :)

1 mom found this helpful

You can always write on the invitation "We consider the gift of your friendship the greatest gift we can receive, so we respectfully request no other gifts be given". People will always think that they are the exception to the rule so will ask your husband what they should bring, so let him be the one to suggest a charity. Mentioning kinds of gifts to be given is tacky, tacky, tacky. (Also the latest thing I have seen is enclosing little snippets of paper with store names of where the person is registered for gifts is just about the worst thing I have seen). At the party your friends will probably mention that they wanted to give you a gift and you could mention the charity at that time. Good luck and Happy Birthday!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I think it's great and so amazing! If only everyone was so wonderful like you!

1 mom found this helpful

I typically don't bring gifts to my friends for their brithdays anymore. We all have kids and we celebrate that way. If I had to buy a gift for everyone on their birthday, I'd be more broke than I am today :). HOWEVER, I am a HUGE supporter of donating things and I think it's great. Not sure how I would word it, but I think it is a great idea. We just went to a one year old's party where they asked for cash towards a donation and they told us all about it - BUT...she never said how much they collected or sent out anything saying they donated, so how do I really know what they did with the money??

1 mom found this helpful

I've gotta say, after thinking about this, I'm in the camp that thinks ANY mention f gifts for an adult birthday party is just tacky. "No gifts, please!" is about all you should say.

1 mom found this helpful

I think it is a very nice idea. It seems like many of the gifts people get for milestone birthdays are just gag gifts anyway. You may still get some because some people just can't resist teasing you about a milestone. You may also have people who truly do want to buy you a nice gift. But I would think most people would be fine with supporting a charity if that's what you want. It also saves them the time of having to shop for a gift and some people will appreciate that. Happy Birthday!

I think it's a great idea and not tacky at all. Unselfish, actually.

Tacky? are you kidding? Great idea. My cousin did that for a birthday with donations going Children's Memorial. I gave more as a donation than I would have spend on a gift.

I don't think it is tacky at all. I would just suggest that your husband write something like the following on the invitation:

"Celebrating with friends and family is all E. wants for her birthday, so PLEASE do NOT bring any gifts. If you absolutely insist on bringing something, please make a small donation to "organization's name" (it is tax deductible too)."

Just do it - in no way is this tacky. I have started seeing this for little kid birthday parties too and I love it.

A couple of birthday parties I have been to have taken food for food pantries, toys for a toy drive.

The invitations have said things like gifts not necessary and then information about the donation directions.

this is a wonderful idea and not tacky at all. just specify the name of the charity on the invitation. people really like doing this type of thing. You could always call it your ".....whatever the milestone is Giving Party" instead of birthday party!

Yes! It's OK to write 'no gifts' on the invitation but not to suggest a donation instead. Only if someone asks, you or your husband, it is OK to say the only thing you want it donations to a charity that you support.

Gifts are out of someone's heart for you. If you do not want a gift - for you, then say that. Donations can be made all the time. I am donating everywhere everyplace I walk. If I want to give a gift I would do that. Just say no gifts please. Sometimes people do not have money for a gift or a donation so just enjoy having a party. If you get gifts and you don't like them, then you can donate them somewhere.

No. I don't think it's tacky at all. I think that's very nice and since it's a charity, it will also be a tax deductable gift for your guests.lol Don't be surprized if you still end up with tons of bath & body stuff on top of your donation. lol Most people don't like to come empty handed.

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