Etiquette Tips for Making Charitable Gifts Instead of Giving Tangible Gifts

Whether it’s a birthday, wedding or holiday, gift giving is a tradition that many families uphold. However, recent years have resulted in an increase in giving charitable gifts rather than giving tangible gifts. Though not everyone appreciates this, the concept still requires some etiquette on the gift giver’s part.

Ask About Charities :  The best way to ensure the charitable gift goes to a charity the recipient would support is to simply ask. Some recipients may want their donation to go toward supporting a specific charity such as St. Jude’s or the ASPCA, while others may specify a specific type of organization, such as one that supports single mothers or a charity that supports a specific type of wild animal.  By asking, the giver ensures that the gift is truly appreciated and goes toward something that the recipient is passionate about. Giving a charitable gift to an organization the recipient may not have supported can have the opposite effect. In fact, giving the donation to a charity that the giver supports rather than one supported by the recipient may cause the gift not to feel like a gift. It may make the recipient feel as though the person is copping out on the gift and supporting their own choice of charity with their own money.

Notify:  It is important to always notify the recipient of the charitable donation. This can include a card or depending on the person and the relationship, perhaps even an email. It is one thing to give a charitable gift rather than a tangible gift, but not notifying the recipient of the donation is inappropriate. In some instances, the charity may notify the recipient of the donation. Be sure to inquire with the charity to find out if this is the case but be sure to notify the recipient separately as well. Doing so adds a special touch to the gift.

Amount Not Necessary:  Everyone has their own income, their own budget and they know what they can and cannot afford. Therefore, it is not always necessary to include the amount of the charity gift on the card or other form of notification. The donation, whether it be $10 or $100, is still a donation and the charity is grateful either way.  Donating is a great way to help out a community. Giving a charitable gift in lieu of a tangible gift is a noble practice, but you may find that your recipient doesn’t actually appreciate the gesture (like many don’t appreciate tangible gifts).  The important thing to consider is that as the gift giver, a difference is still being made and a gift was still given even if it was not necessarily appreciated by all who received it. Do what feels right in your heart and things will always work out in the end.

About the Author: Patty Kleen has a list of charities she and her family and friends support and loves giving charitable donations in lieu of gifts – especially in honor of older family members and friends who don’t want or need much. Patty is also a full-time writer with a focus on finance, bad credit loans, insurance, and charitable causes.


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