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Can’t you just say “No gifts, please.”?

July 15, 2010

Erica Ehm at Canada.com claims that a birthday party can save the world.  How?  By having the guests make a charitable donation rather than bringing a gift.  She’s using a website called echoage.com for her daughter’s party.  Guests can donate to the account and the birthday child picks the charity.

Actually, I should say that  guests have to donate.  In fact, the site keeps track of who is invited and whether or not they have “paid” and just how much they’ve “donated.”

I don’t like this at all.  I don’t like being obligated to donate to somebody’s charity of choice and I don’t want anyone to know how much I’ve spent on a gift.  You just know that this will end up costing the guests’ parents much more money because they’ll give more than they might have spent on a gift.  Who wants to look like a cheapskate?

Note also that you can’t pick just any charity.  You can only select from their list of participating charities.  My favorite charities aren’t even on the list.

Bonus:  The parents of the birthday child get the tax receipt for the donation.  Isn’t that just great?  Let’s do the math.  If I give $30, half will go to the charity and the parents, assuming that they make other charitable donations through the year, will get $6 back at tax time ($15 X 40%).

Why not just ask that the guests not bring gifts?  So easy.

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I have another question.  How much is this company receiving as their fee for transferring the money to the charity?   Fifteen percent?! Always, always look for the fine print.

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