Wording for Birthday Donation Invite

Updated on May 23, 2013
J.K. asks from Sault Sainte Marie, MI
17 answers

My daughter has requested to donate gifts to needy kids for her 7th birthday. We have decided to donate to Child Protective Services for kids that are removed from the home and have to leave without their toys. Any suggestions on how to word this on the invite? I'm just afraid of opening a can of worms/questions for parents of kids asking why would a kid have to leave their home without their toys etc? Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?? Thanks!!

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So What Happened?

WOW! Thank you all so much for your helpful (and honest) answers! It really helped me a lot. I worded the invite like this "In Lieu of gifts, DD has requested we make a donation to Child Protective Services, so children less fortunate can have a birthday celebration too. Please consider bringing an unwrapped toy donation that we will be delivering later in the month". As far as my DD doing this to be showy, I know totally in my heart, that there is no way that is why she is doing this and I find it amazing that you would think a child trying to help others as negative. I truly appreciate all those who gave her positive support. She really wants to help other kids. I did talk with the woman at DHS and she was very excited to receive the donations, as they don't have funding for toys and this will help tremendously with supplying kids in foster care with presents for their birthdays and other holidays. I think that made her choice even more meaningful and important. We did appreciate and discussed the recommendation to donate to Oklahoma, but when I looked into, it seems they are preferring money and man power at this time, therefore, we will do our best to help them another way. Thank you all again for your help and positive input.

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answers from Anchorage on

Just say "in lieu of gifts Jodi request that you please bring items to donate to children in need, Jodi will delivery these items to Child protective Services for kids who are less fortunate them herself."

I wouldn't see this as a "look at me shout out" at all, since I know for myself, if this was told to me up front, I would bring more then the one $15 toy I would normally bring, I would include with a toy or two some new clothing items like socks and undies that they always need, and possibly other items as well. When someone else it doing the drop off you may find people are more willing to donate. I do something similar at my husbands work each year as winter comes, I let them know I am doing a run to the children's homeless shelter and the amount of items people bring in when they don't have to be the ones to go out of their way to deliver them is amazing.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

How about donations to Oklahoma. Look at the devastation. These families have nothing. That is what I would do. This is something kids can understand.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Hartford on

Do NOT put anything about gifts at all on the invitation. It's rude and tacky and presumptuous that guests will even be able to bring gifts. The only gift you should expect is your guests' presence. Therefore, never ever make mention of gifts or donations.

If your child does receive gifts and your child CHOOSES to donate them, then you do so quietly without announcing it to all of your guests. True generosity and kindness and charity is done without a bragging voice.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Just include a note saying, "DD has decided that the greatest gift would be giving to others. Should you want to bring a present, please bring a new/ used wrapped/ unwrapped toy for children in need."

You can tell those you ask that you will be giving them to CPS, without opening the topic for discussion among the kiddies.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I would use Crazy Lady's wording also.
To answer Jo:
The reason you put this in the invite is three-fold-
1. A child who is generously thinking of others on her birthday instead of focusing on herself deserves some extra recognition, the "shout-out" as you put it.
2. Some people get prickly about not seeing their gifts used or displayed when they visit in the future. They might resent taking the time to choose a gift for the birthday girl, only to find out she had no intention in keeping it and had donated it instead.
3. Some people may not want to donate to a particular cause, so this gives them a heads up and a choice.
See the answer directly below as an example of what I'm talking about. :-)

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I would keep it short and sweet. Something like "In lieu of gifts for the birthday girl, we will be making a donation to Child Protective Services. Please feel free to bring an unwrapped/wrapped donation, that we will be delivering on June __th."

That way the parents can explain what information they deem necessary to satisfy their child's curiosity.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Geez, Jo, way to be a fun sponge.

I'm sure the gifts will differ slightly once the attendees know the recipient. They'll perhaps choose something unisex, not pink, etc.

Love Crazy Lady's wording.
Or, "in lieu of gifts, we will be making a donation (toy or monetary) to CPS per Janie's request."

Fabulous, sweet idea! And your child will be spreading the idea of charity and selflessness with ALL of the kids that come. (That's the difference between doing this and donating whatever she would get!)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I would be very vague. Maybe say something like, "Jane would like to share her birthday fun with kids who need some help - let's have a party, and pass the gifts on to someone else!" Maybe make a brief mention at the bottom that your daughter would like to collect her gifts as a donation to CPS.

If you want to get specific on the invitation, maybe you could mention that their suitcases weren't big enough for everything they wanted to take? (Which is, technically, at least partially true in many cases, I'm sure.)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Have her box up her old toys and take them to the Women's Shelter.

The guests will want to give HER gifts. They can donate to charity if they so desire in their own ways.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Exactly what Jessica said!

My son has attended a couple of parties where the birthday child has requested donations instead of gifts. I don't find it offensive, but I do think it's a little odd. I understand the concept, but I do love the excitement my son has when selecting a gift for a friend. We spent nearly an hour at Toys R Us last night picking something out for his buddy. He LOVES doing it. I'm also not a huge fan of someone else selecting my "donations" for me.

Bottom line is this: tacky to even talk about gifts on an invitation, especially a child's birthday party. You could put something in there to the effect of... "your presence is present enough for Susie! If you would like to donate in her name to your favorite charity, that would be great!"

Make sure to contact CPS ahead of time. I say this because I have worked with children in crisis for MANY years and have never heard of them accepting donations like this. They are a placement service and part of social services. You may want to look into a local emergency group home or your local fire department. Those are direct service organizations. CPS is not.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I try to invite kids we know and skip the school drama. So I know all the parents. I can easily tell them "Hey, Jane is really thinking about the world right now and she wants to donate any gifts to a charity for kids."

The reason I "would" tell the parents voice to voice is this. I spend time thinking and planning what we give. I would be totally pissed off if I spent more on a gift for some child I feel would really enjoy that particular gift only to find out she's not even going to keep it.

Did that come out right?

If I was going shopping for a friend's child and had a normal budget of $10 for a birthday party gift per invitation but saw the cutest My Little Pony that I just knew my friends child would adore so I spent $15 on it then I'd be pissed when I found out it was for a stranger's child. I would have stayed within my budget and not gone out of the way.

I would have still bought a gift but not something I had an emotional connection to. I would have looked forward to seeing my friends child playing with the pony and having a blast integrating it into her heard. Knowing it was for a stranger's child I would have gotten something that was extra nice but not something so specific to the birthday child.

I do think this little girl is amazing though. This is a really nice thing to do.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I think that is WONDERFUL, J.! What a kind gesture.

I like OneCrazyLady ;) 's wording. ♥

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I wouldn't say anything - on the invite or anywhere else.
If she wants to donate what ever she gets that's fine.
If I knew she was going to give away what ever I got her, I wouldn't bother getting her anything.
It kind of smacks of being ungrateful.
How is she really 'giving' if what she's giving is something that's passing through her ownership in the door and right back out again?
It's fund raising and it's not right for a birthday.
It's a slight of hand of re-distribution of my time, effort and money and it irks me.
If I want to give to a charity I'll do so on my own without cloaking it behind an occasion birthday/shower/wedding/funeral/whatever.
How about you skip the party altogether and donate the money you would have spent on cake and ice cream and call it a day.
Fine - I'm a curmudgeon - I've been called worse.
I delete hate mail so don't bother.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

*ETA: Also: who, gets to claim the "donation" on their taxes?

And, what if... after your daughter receives and sees the "gifts"... she changes her mind and wants to keep some of it??? After all, the party, is for her Birthday. And after all, she is a young child.

Also: what if, the invited children/their parents... wonder if: if they do NOT bring a "donation" gift, then can they still come to the party? Or is it ONLY for those that want to donate? I mean, this is a Birthday party. Not a donation party. And some might think that they can only attend if they bring a donation and they might feel odd, if they do not participate in donating. And they will feel odd if they come empty handed.
Also, some might bring a donation "gift" and ALSO a Birthday gift for your daughter. Then what?
I have seen, this happen.... at donation parties that are actually a Birthday party.

Why, do you even have to tell the other kids, and that CPS is for kids who got removed from the home without their toys? Putting it that way, is so specific and wrongly so... and makes it sound like CPS is evil and mean, to kids. So why, would your daughter want to donate her gifts to them?

Just say your child has decided to donate her gifts, to a charitable organization that helps children. SO that, the parents of the invited children, can then decide for themselves, if they want to donate, and (2) if they agree with it and (3) so they can therefore decide on what type of "gift" they will get. If they ask, then tell the parents it is for CPS. And then the parents of the other kids, can explain to their own child, what CPS is. Because there are many other ways, to explain what they do.

You also: have to make SURE, that the CPS in your area... does indeed take "donations" like that. ie: toys.
Or not.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I just wanted to say, I think this is such a wonderful idea. It'd be great if this became the new trend. It's one thing when it's a small birthday party, but when they start inviting a bunch of friends, it's really too many gifts. Yet, they should be able to have their friends there to share in their special day. It's great that your daughter wants to use her special day to make a difference in the world. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Saginaw on

you could word it the same way they do for funeral services that would prefer donations to a certain charity over flowers.

Please come to the party....blah blah blah...
in lieu of gifts for "Mary" please consider donating a toy to ABC charity....you may contact "John Doe" at ABC charity @ ###-###-#### to arrange a donation.

that way they aren't "required" to bring a gift if they don't agree with the idea...but if they'd like to, you have made it easy for them to do so.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

My son donated to teh Humane Society for 2 of his birthdays. I put a little note in is that said he wanted to make a donation to the humane society. I included some ideas from their website of things that could be purchased (food, treats, etc.) AND some things that wouldn't cost a dime (old towels, newpaper).

See is CPS will take used items. Then you can say something about bringing a gently used toy to donate. A parent can either bring one their child has outgrown or get one at a garage sale or resale shop.

I know that people are saying it is tacky to mention a gift but, lets be honest, when your child is invited to a party you know you are going to take a gift. I think it is a great idea.

Also, you could just say " A child in need" instead of specifically mentioning CPS and kids beign taken from their homes.

1 mom found this helpful
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