Four ways to make donations-as-gifts even more memorable

Dec 05, 2013
The trend of making a charitable donation as a gift doesn’t seem to be losing steam. It’s no longer unusual to receive invitations to birthdays, weddings, graduations and other special events—with requests for donations to favorite charities in lieu of traditional gifts.

In fact, these types of alternative gifts are steadily increasing in popularity, Virginia Esposito of the National Center for Family Philanthropy told USA Today recently. 

With the holiday season already under way, you may decide to make charitable donations on behalf of friends and relatives on your gift-giving list. If so, make them even more memorable by following these four simple steps:
  1. Make it personal. While you may have your own favorite charity, take the time to think carefully about the individual interests of your gift recipients. One person may be passionate about international causes, and another may be more concerned about funding local food banks. Just as you wouldn’t buy everyone on your holiday shopping list the same gift, take the time to identify charities that fit each person. For example, a donation to The Eliminate Project on behalf of a tight-knit family can symbolize the special bond between mothers and their children. And The Eliminate Project is a great fit; through this project  Kiwanis is raising funds to protect mothers and their babies from tetanus.
  2. Select an ornament to commemorate the donation. It’s time to get a bit creative. If you make a donation to The Eliminate Project, you might consider picking an ornament with a manger scene to symbolize the season as well as the precious gift of children. A donation made to the Humane Society can be accompanied by a cat ornament, while funds donated for disaster relief may be symbolized by a global ornament. If you’re short on funds or want to make sure most of your budget goes to the charity, make a handmade ornament.
  3. Add a handwritten note. With texts, emails and Facebook posts becoming the norm, a thoughtful handwritten note will make your charitable gift stand out even more. Write a few sentiments about the gift recipient and why you want to make a special donation on his or her behalf.
  4. Make it a group effort. If you and your family are gathering for the holidays, encourage everyone to donate to a charitable cause. Be prepared to give a brief speech about the charity or pass out leaflets describing the charity and how donations support its mission. Share specific outcomes of donations. For example, a gift to The Eliminate Project of US$625 can impact the lives of 350 women and their future babies.
These are only a few ways to make charitable donations a part of your annual gift-giving tradition. The options are endless and are only limited by your imagination. What are some ways you have incorporated philanthropy into your holiday gift giving? 

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