Celebrating a birthday can be a great time for kids. Having your friends over, eating more than your monthly allowance of sugar, and staying up super late are all part of having the.best.party.EVER. What happens, though, when your child has everything they need? How do you handle birthday presents without adding more clutter or “stuff” into your house?
You host a charitable giving campaign instead of receiving birthday gifts.
Here are my tips for making this plan a success.
Select a Charity
My daughter had a specific idea of which charity she wanted to donate to. She has been a patient at the local children’s hospital and really enjoyed the treatment she was given (amazing doctors and nurses!) However, she knew that many kids spend a lot more time at the Hospital than she did. Mini Me knew the children’s hospital would be a great charity to donate to, because it specifically impacted other kids her age.
But if you are unsure of which charity to donate to, try searching for one on Charity Navigator. This resource will help you search by location and type of charity. I also really enjoyed how the site provided better information about each charity (where the money really goes to, how much is allocated to programs vs. administration fees and accountability and transparency).
Contact the Charity Directly
Before we 100% decided on the local children’s hospital, I went to their website and found out about how to donate to them. Did they prefer monetary donations or unwrapped presents? I found out the easiest way to donate to them was monetarily, but they also would accept gifts. I then contacted the donation coordinator via email to ask her specifically how to set up a monetary donation. What I learned was that the organization had a way to accept donations online through a personal link that would lead back to my daughter.
Always contact the charity directly, before sending out invitations. You may find that they are interested in specific items (food, clothing, presents) or they may truly just want a monetary donation. If they want specific items, they may be able to provide you a list of specifics they are looking for.
Get the Word Out
The best way we found to get the word out was to include a note about gifts in the invitations. While gifts should never been expected, we specifically wanted to let the party-goers know that we will be collecting donations to the charity. I also included a note about who the charity was, what they were wanting in terms of the donation, and how this would impact Mini Me. We provided a link for parents to make a donation online. Mini Me also specifically told each friend about the charity and to donate money, if possible. She helped get the word out through the friends.
If you are providing invitations electronically, you can include the link directly in the invitation. We specified that we could accept cash or check (made out to my name, so I could provide one big check at the end).
It’s Party Time
We had a great response for donations at the party. Parents asked us how we decided to do the donations (it was Mini Me’s idea) and how great it was that she was donating her gifts. We ended up receiving a larger amount of money per kid than we normally would have. Several kids came with 5-10 presents in hand to donate. It was so great to see the kids embracing the idea of giving to others instead of who had given the best gift to the birthday girl.
With 10 friends attending the party, we ended up with over $300 in donations plus 15 presents. Mini Me was the most excited about the impact the money and presents would have on the hospital patients.
Say Thank You
After we provided the large donation to the hospital, we were given a letter from the donation coordinator. She wrote how incredibly generous my daughter was, for collecting donations at her birthday party. She also provided us a letter we could include in thank you notes to the friends.
With the thank you notes, we provided information about how much was donated to the charity. It was great to have a letter to provide to each of the friends for them to see how they impacted many kids.
My daughter was incredibly generous to not accept personal gifts for her birthday, and instead donate to a charity. But it was her certainly her choice. She had the idea of how she could help others, and with a little help from mom, we made it possible. In fact, it was incredibly easy and so rewarding! She still had her fill of sugar, laughs and staying up late. This was just the icing on the cake!
Have you donated birthday gifts to charity? Is this something you would want to do in the future? Leave a comment below and tell me how this would impact your child’s life.