Disagreeable Donation: When someone donates in your name

by epi on December 19, 2011

Q: Instead of sending a present, your cousin donates to a charitable organization in your name- but for a cause you don’t support.  Should you say something?

A: Yes.  If the charity truly offends you, ask your cousin to refrain, without going into specifics.  Try, “I appreciate your generosity, but let’s just exchange cards this year.”  If she pushes, tell her honestly that you’re not comfortable being matched up with this cause.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Country Girl December 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Am I being a total Scrooge? I am personally not a very big fan of this growing trend of making a donation in someone else’s name as a gift to them, unless the recipient has specified that this is the gift they would like to receive.

It is the giver who gets not only the benefit of choosing the charity, but also receives the benefit of the tax write-off. Additionally, it seems very presumptive that the recipient would want their gift (monetary or not) donated in the first place. I remember not so long ago, as a struggling student, when I received the gift of a donation to the giver’s favorite charity. I couldn’t help but feel “Gee, while I’m sure this charity can benefit from the money/gift, really so could I have!” It didn’t really feel like a “gift”.

I think it is more thoughtful to allow the option and decision of a donation left to the recipient. If a giver wants to a boost to a charity, better to do it in their own name.

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Just Laura December 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I believe that for charity gifts, as with any present, the giver has to think of the recipient.

Long ago, a boyfriend made a donation to Save the Manatees in my name for my birthday. I received a picture of an injured manatee, along with some other stuff. To date, this is one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. However, there are many 501(c)3 organizations with which I do not agree, and would be offended if someone gave money on my behalf to them. Country Girl, I noticed that the gift you received was to the giver’s favorite charity, and not to yours. That would leave a bad taste in my mouth; you’re right, it’s hardly a gift.
I don’t go around buying sweaters in my size and giving them to others of different sizes. That would be silly. Why would anyone think a charity gift should be such a poor fit for the recipient?

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Country Girl December 19, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Well that is certainly a positive example. =) Save the Manatees? How cool!

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