Alternative Giving

What is Alternative Giving?

“Alternative Giving” refers to the practice of giving a donation to a charity in someone’s honor in lieu of giving that person a physical gift.

Why would someone do this?

There could be many reasons why someone would appreciate receiving an alternative gift.  Some people may feel they have enough “stuff” already and don’t want to receive physical gifts anymore; alternative giving allows the giver to still recognize the occasion.  Perhaps there is a cause or an organization dear to the receiver’s heart; that person might truly appreciate the giver’s thoughtfulness in supporting that effort.  Alternative giving works for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions.  When someone makes an alternative gift, it’s really a double gift: a gift to the honoree and a gift to the charity and the people that it helps.

What organizations do Alternative Giving?

Some organizations promote alternative giving by providing a list of items which people can purchase for those in need.  For example, it could be a list of tools and equipment to assist farmers in Africa, or a list of animals to aid families in Asia,or a list of health and educational supplies for children throughout the world, or a list of food items for hungry people right in your own community.  Frequently, these organizations will send a card to the honoree indicating that a gift has been made in that person’s name,along with some information about the organization and what the gift will accomplish.

However, you can make an alternative gift to any nonprofit organization.  Just decide what agency you want to support, and the amount of your donation, and send it in.  Then give a card – whether one you buy in the store or a special card you prepare yourself – to the honoree and state what the gift is.

Include some literature about the organization you chose.  And if the person is not familiar with the concept of alternative giving, be sure to explain it and encourage them to pass the idea along to someone else.