Author Topic: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts  (Read 5631 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

lilblu

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« on: October 14, 2013, 03:11:13 PM »
I've read obituaries where it asks that instead of sending flowers, to please make a donation to a charity. I'm going to assume there's nothing wrong with that since so many people/families do that.

Would there be anything wrong with doing something similar for Christmas presents? Here's what I'd like to say or write (snail mail or email) to my relatives:

While I appreciate that you would like to give me a Christmas gift this year, I would like to ask that you give a gift of "donation" instead. As you all know, I take in stray and sickly animals that would otherwise be euthanized in an animal shelter. I care very deeply for the well-being of these animals. Due to the rising cost of animal/pet care, I ask that you either "donate" a Petsmart, Walmart, or preferably Visa gift card for pet supplies or "donate" one of the following pet supplies items: (this is where I would list pet food, pet supplies, etc.). While I do appreciate receiving gifts that I can use for myself (who doesn't?), I am at a point in my life where it is far more rewarding to put my four-legged furpals before my own wants and needs. Thank you... and I'm sorry but your "donation" is not tax deductible.


I can tweak that a bit if needed, it could probably use better wording. But is there anything wrong with sending that to my family? Afterall, I thought Christmas was supposed to be about giving and not about selfish wants. While I can afford to care for these animals, money does get tight and it seems silly to put useless, unneeded material possessions before a living being.  If Christmas truly is about giving, then no one should object to me asking for pet supplies. At least, that's how I see it.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6693
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2013, 03:20:45 PM »
How many relatives normally give you Christmas gifts? Can this not be done in conversations with them? An email or letter seems a little like fundraising.

wolfie

  • I don't know what this is so I am putting random words here
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7266
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2013, 03:22:12 PM »
I would be put off by a letter like that. I only give gifts to my immediate family and I am close enough to them that I ask them what they want and expect them to give  me an honest answer.

GlitterIsMyDrug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1120
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2013, 03:24:42 PM »
I would say, when/if someone says "Hey lilblu, what you like for Christmas", you let them know what you'd like for Christmas. Which is supplies to help care for your animals. But sending out a pre-emptive please donate email seems a little like saying "I know you want to buy me a big gift, here's what to get me". Someone might not have been planning to get you anything or maybe they were just planning on making you cookies or something. Maybe they've already bought you a gift. I'd wait until someone asks and then let them know.

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9015
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2013, 03:25:07 PM »
Just to be sure I'm reading the post right, these donations would be coming to you to take care of the animals you have in your home, not being donated to an "outside" charity like the humane society?

I think the way to go is probably to not frame it as a "donation," which sounds more like you're trying to get them to donate to an outside rescue, and some people might misinterpret it and do that anyway (and it can also be controversial etiquette-wise to ask for donations instead of gifts anyway). I'd recommend putting out the word through whatever means you usually tell your relatives what you want for Christmas. If they look at Amazon wish lists, list pet stuff on there. If they ask what you'd like, mention that you could really use (x,y,z or a pet store GC) for your foster pets. If they give you other stuff anyway, see if you can discreetly return it for pet stuff money.

Thank you for taking care of the critters. :)

darkprincess

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 373
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2013, 03:32:12 PM »
I like glitter's idea. What until you are asked.

that_one_girl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 157
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2013, 03:45:19 PM »
How about saying something like, "As you know, I take care of several foster pets.  This year, for Christmas, I would appreciate gifts for my foster "kids" instead of for me."  Then maybe list what type of pet supplies you need.  Then respond with thank you notes that are written from the pets' perspective.

jmarvellous

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3588
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2013, 04:22:17 PM »
I appreciate that you need help caring for your animals, but a gift to help you care for them is still a gift, not a donation.
Your proposed letter is very presumptuous (and also a little confusing, with the 'donation' language). A request for help with your animals should only come after  they've said they want to get you something. Even someone like, say, your mother, who's gotten you a gift or gifts every year of your life, should not get a preemptive gift request letter.

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1585
  • I write whimsical vintage mysteries.
    • My Author Page:
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2013, 04:34:44 PM »
I think there are two important distinctions here - 1) the families are directing memorials AWAY from themselves entirely, and 2) the honoree of the memorial donations is DEAD. Memorial gifts are in honor of the deceased, not in order to help them with projects.

Sending a form letter as you propose is similar to a charity sending a fundraising letter, which is a business solicitation - not a polite communication from a friend or relative.

Fostering animals is a kind and generous thing to do. I have been solicited to fund such projects myself, along with mission trips, service projects, and various dedicated individuals' higher education.  They all wound up in the same place as all other charity and business soliciation letters - in the round file underneath my desk.

If someone knows you well enough to ask what you want for Christmas, tell them what you would like. If not, you can always secretly return it and use the money however you wish.
......................................................................
                www.ellenseltz.com
......................................................................


m2kbug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1539
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2013, 04:45:04 PM »
I'm going to agree not to send out a letter like that.  Anyone who's close enough to you, you should be able to express your desire to have items to help with your foster pets in the form of food or gift cards.  The last time I received a request like this was when someone needed to purchase something pretty expensive and asked that any gifts would be with that in mind.  This was a close family unit where we drew names and shared "wish lists."  I think if an obscure family member sent something like that out, it would just get ignored.  Anyone closer, I would probably already know or would feel comfortable asking what they want, or as the receiver, be able to express my wish; otherwise, I wouldn't say anything.   

lilblu

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2013, 05:06:47 PM »
Let's sort of start over here. I forget that most people are not like me and vice versa.

Me and some of my other family members only communicate via email/writing as we're very shy. We barely speak to each other when we actually see one another in person - because we're very shy.

I was going to email these relatives and ask if we're still exchanging gifts this year since we haven't seen each other since last Christmas. Knowing them, they will want to exchange gifts. So that's when I was going to ask for the "donations" instead. And that's why I keep putting the word donation in quotation marks - because it's not a real donation. But at the same time, these items would not be for me, they're for animals that I never asked for but care for anyway.

These "donations" would be for animals/pets in my care. They were all strays that showed up on my doorstep or found on my property. Because of the amount of strays that show up here, I have not adopted a pet since 1990. Many of them have been ill and the local animal shelter kills ill animals, so I keep them instead.

Most of my family members don't ask what I want for Christmas. They just buy me what they want. I hate to sound ungrateful, but the last few years, one of my family members keeps buying me insulting gifts (they don't realize it) despite the fact that their spouse keeps telling them not to because I won't like it. But that's for another topic/thread and time.

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1585
  • I write whimsical vintage mysteries.
    • My Author Page:
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2013, 05:10:38 PM »
Taking care of the animals is wonderful.  I can't think of any way to make the letter polite. Telling people what to give you as a gift, if they have not asked, is rude.
......................................................................
                www.ellenseltz.com
......................................................................


Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6693
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2013, 05:27:17 PM »
Then I'd go with something more casual.

If they reply back that they do want to exchange gifts then say something like "then do you mind if I make a suggestion? I'm really in need of Petco gift cards, x, y, and z. Of course I'll appreciate any gift you send but I'm finding the cost to foster animals is stretching my budget and I get great joy from my foster pets and would hate to cut back."

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1585
  • I write whimsical vintage mysteries.
    • My Author Page:
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2013, 05:33:18 PM »
Then I'd go with something more casual.

If they reply back that they do want to exchange gifts then say something like "then do you mind if I make a suggestion? I'm really in need of Petco gift cards, x, y, and z. Of course I'll appreciate any gift you send but I'm finding the cost to foster animals is stretching my budget and I get great joy from my foster pets and would hate to cut back."

There you go. One message asking if they still want to exchange gifts. Then a separate message with the suggestion.  I think that would be fine.  Well done, Hmmmm.
......................................................................
                www.ellenseltz.com
......................................................................


GlitterIsMyDrug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1120
Re: Asking for "donations" instead of Christmas gifts
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2013, 05:35:51 PM »
So here's what I would given your update (and I have several family members I communicate almost exclusivly with via email/facebook just because it works out easiest for us).

First email: Hey Uncle John! I was just thinking about Christmas and was wondering if we're planning to exchange gifts this year as we usually do?

If the response is yes, my follow up email would be something like: Great! I'm trying to plan ahead this year. Is there anything specific you'd like this year?

After that you have two options, in the same email mention that you'd like gifts for the dogs/animals in your care instead of gifts for yourself. The second option, is to wait until you get response of "I want a hippo" or whatever and respond that you'll keep that in mind while shopping this year and that for yourself this year you'd love some items that can help you care for your animals.

I would avoid the word donation. This is not a donation, you are not a charity service. This is a gift for you that benefits animals in your care. It's a lovely thing you do, but it's a choice you've made to do. For instance, I knit. Often I knit hats and blankets for babies in NICU, I've also helped make blankets to be handed out to the homeless. For Christmas I'll often ask friends/family members for knitting supplies so that I can continue to work on these projects. They aren't donating these items to me, they're gifting them to me. I'm using them for a charitable cause.

I do like a PP's idea of writing thank you notes from the animal's perspective. My dogs get Christmas presents every year and we send out thank you notes from them. Luckily people find this adorable and not crazy.