Author Topic: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts  (Read 4058 times)

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Just Lori

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Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« on: December 11, 2011, 11:32:58 PM »
It seems we discuss this every season, and the general belief is that charitable donations are not the same as gifts, except in very specific circumstances.  For instance, we had a thread last week about putting a charitable donation on your wish list along with other items, which gives the giver several different gift options.

I think Miss Manners does a good job of explaining her stance:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/tribu/sc-fam-1206-manners-20111206,0,2121261.story

Thipu1

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2011, 10:56:33 AM »
These kinds of gifts all depend on the donor and the recipient.

We have relatives who think nothing is a better family gift than sending a flock of chickens to an African village in their name.  We also have relatives who think that an appropriate gift for a 15 year-old is a belt costing  100 USD.

With which relatives would the good people here rather deal?


JoyinVirginia

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 11:57:53 PM »
Oh, can I guess?
Any article of clothing over $100 had   better be encrusted with jewels, or dress you automatically, or make you invisible or something!

Ceallach

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2011, 12:04:29 AM »
I think at the end of the day the simple answer is this - only give a charitable donation if you know 100%, beyond a doubt, that the recipient will appreciate it / supports that cause.  You can't even make assumptions based on "Oh Millie's father had cancer, therefore she'll support X cancer charity" etc, because as we all know, that simply isn't necessarily the case - charities are a very contentious issue as people have their own thoughts about the contribution, use of funds, and politics of various organisations.  If a person genuinely wants charitable donations and has expressed a charity of preference, it's not rude.  But it's certainly not a gift that should be given willy-nilly or without thought.
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wolfie

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2011, 12:05:53 AM »
I'll chime in for the other side and say I could probably return the belt and get something I actually want. There really is no right or wrong side. Some people would be thrilled with a charitable contribution in their name, others would prefer you just not do anything rather then give in their name. If you want to go that route you need to be 100% sure they will love it - and aren't saying they are fine with it because they feel guilty admitting that they really aren't. Personally I would rather leave the charity work for other times and have my gift giving occasions revolve around the honoree. Although this year when I asked a sibling what ot get for Christmas I was asked to donate to a cause and I will do that but I will also give her a small gift because I don't feel right getting her nothing physically. And it does make me feel greedy because I would prefer an actual gift.

violinp

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2011, 01:53:14 PM »
Well, I've had to deal with this this year...

My aunt and uncle made charitable donations in all our names as our Christmas gifts. I was not consulted, only informed after the fact by my mother, who had advised them on what charity to donate to for me. I respect the charity to which they gave...but I'd have rather they given to another charity that is dearer to my heart.

I have no problem with charitable donations, but I think my relatives were rude in doing it the way they did. I wish my mom had at least done me the courtesy of asking me to what charity I would like my aunt and uncle to donate.  :-\
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Miss March

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2011, 02:00:44 PM »
I have a friend who goes to the Mall with her mother, and they each select a request from the "Wish Tree" for children. It is their gift to each other to spend the day together, enjoying shopping for these children and then going home and wrapping the gifts and dropping them off. I think it is a great way to both give to a charity, and make it a real 'time shared' project to do with your loved one.
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KenveeB

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2011, 09:52:02 PM »
A gift for someone should be, well, for that person.  Giving a charitable donation so you can feel warm and fuzzy is not a gift for someone.  Giving a charitable donation because you know the cause is something that the person supports and would appreciate the gift is.  That's the distinction to me.  Like anything else, you should select a gift with the recipient in mind and find something they will appreciate.  A random charitable donation can be just as thoughtless a gift as an ugly sweater.

Sometimes I think that when people say it's the thought that counts, that means they actually have to think about giving an appropriate gift!  Missing the mark is one thing, but not even trying to something else entirely.

CakeEater

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2011, 12:58:23 AM »
Giving donations in someone's name just seems like showing off to me. If you want to give a donation, do it with your own money, under your own name and don't tell everyone about it.

I wish people would stop giving me presents altogether. What's the appropriate response to receiving a card saying money has been donated in your name? 'Thank-you' doesn't seem quite appropriate.

Calypso

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2011, 01:10:33 AM »
For the people who are saying that they feel greedy for wanting actual presents and not charitable contributions in their name: don't. fMRI studies have shown that, for some people, giving to charity stimulates the brain in the pleasure centers the same way some drugs do. So, people give to charity because it makes them feel good, at least that's part of the reason. 

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2011, 05:16:13 AM »
A gift for someone should be, well, for that person.  Giving a charitable donation so you can feel warm and fuzzy is not a gift for someone.  Giving a charitable donation because you know the cause is something that the person supports and would appreciate the gift is.  That's the distinction to me.  Like anything else, you should select a gift with the recipient in mind and find something they will appreciate.  A random charitable donation can be just as thoughtless a gift as an ugly sweater.

Sometimes I think that when people say it's the thought that counts, that means they actually have to think about giving an appropriate gift!  Missing the mark is one thing, but not even trying to something else entirely.


A minimalist friend who does not collect material things might take a charitable donation in that person's name in a spirit of "thinking of you" and appreciate the contribution more than the gift. A friend of mine lived in Senegal for a year to do charitable work there; the year he spent there, I might have given him a gift of a cash donation dedicated to providing water or goats or schools - especially one that did so in Senegal.



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iridaceae

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2011, 06:00:09 AM »
Giving donations in someone's name just seems like showing off to me. If you want to give a donation, do it with your own money, under your own name and do
It can be, but isn't necessarily. When my mother died we put a notice in her obituary suggesting that instead of flowers donations be made to one of two charities that meant something to my mother.  Getting the "a donation has been made" card meant to us that people actually cared about what we as a family- including my mother- wanted rather than disreguarding our wishes and and going with what they wanted.

In any case, I'd be irked if suddenly friend decided to do charitable contributions without indicating this ahead of time.

Ereine

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2011, 06:37:00 AM »
My father and stepmother sometimes give charitable gifts, though they'll also give something small too. This year I happened to look at my email and so knew about it beforehand and I think that I accepted it gracefully enough  For some reason giving personal gifts seems to be difficult for them (me and my sister will get the same thing, as will our boyfriends) and they hate receiving items themselves so maybe for them giving to charity is the ideal gift. For me it seemed slightly like a double punishment. I get to feel guilty for being greedy and the money goes to people who suffee because of the choices people in rich countries make (child labourers), which makes me even more guilty for buying cheap clothes whose origin is probably unethical. I once gave them a gift card to a micro loaning organization and they seemed to like it, but they didn't seem to get the hint (which was very unsubtle) that at least give me something that gives me something to do (choosing the person the loan goes to).

Flora Louise

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2011, 09:25:43 AM »
These kinds of gifts all depend on the donor and the recipient.

We have relatives who think nothing is a better family gift than sending a flock of chickens to an African village in their name.  We also have relatives who think that an appropriate gift for a 15 year-old is a belt costing  100 USD.

With which relatives would the good people here rather deal?

The belt givers.
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Surianne

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Re: Miss Manners and charitable contributions as gifts
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2011, 10:38:49 AM »
I'm the odd one out on this topic as usual.  I love receiving charity donations as gifts.  Likely this is because I've never received one where I didn't support the charity, so they were always thoughtful presents (or my friends/family just got lucky!)