Have you noticed how many parents/grandparents are hard to buy for? Often they’re at a stage of life when they have everything the need and want and they aren’t interested in acquiring more.
It’s something we experience with both our sets of parents, so last week I put out a call for help on the Family CEO Facebook page about this very thing. I got some wonderful, creative suggestions: tickets to a concert or event, a photo album, wine, and even a dinner cruise.
One suggestion I especially liked and have used before is a charitable donation made in their honor. We’ve done this several times now and with good results.
Here is some of what we’ve learned:
1. Make sure the recipient is open to it. Most are, especially if they really, truly don’t want or need anything. But if you suspect that a charitable donation would be met with anything other than a warm feeling, better to skip it and figure out something else.
2. Choose a charity whose mission is a good fit with the person you’re buying for. This is not the time to give to your favorite cause; make it about them. And if you embrace that idea, choosing a charity to donate to can be a lot of fun. One of my favorite experiences of doing this was on my parents’ 40th anniversary when we made a donation to the church where they were married. And in that Facebook post I mentioned, Family CEO reader Sarah suggested the Samaritan’s Purse gift catalog, where they can choose where they want their money to go.
3. Make sure the charity will make good use of the gift. Earlier this month I blogged about Charity Navigator, which rates over 5000 charities based on their financial strength, accountability, and transparency. That’s a good place to start. They also have tools that can help you choose a charity if you don’t already have an idea. (Charity Navigator is listed on my Resources page if you ever need to find it in the future.)
Have you ever given a charitable donation as a gift? What was your experience?