1. Ashleigh

    I’m currently working on a press release for a theater group I’m involved in. We will be holding a small reading which will be free to the public. Would it be appropriate to say something along the lines of “Admission is free and donations are graciously accepted” in the event writeup, should I omit the donations part, is there a better way to phrase it?

    I have also considered the idea of perhaps making the admission a canned good to donate to the local food bank. In that case would “Admission is free with the donation of a nonperishable item” work and then have a donation basket available at the location?


    • Winifred Rosenburg

      Both of your ideas seem fine. Something else I’ve seen that you might want to consider is “admission: by donation” to indicate that they can pay whatever they feel comfortable paying.

    • Nina

      Dear Ashleigh, I go to lots of readings and, in my city, saying “Admission: Pay What You Can” is pretty standard. Sometimes it is even abbreviated to PWYC. It means pretty much, “We could use the money, but if you could use it more, we don’t want that to prevent you from attending.” If that’s the case for your group, this is probably the terminology to use. If, on the other hand, money is not an issue, the food drive is a lovely gesture and one most people would be happy to participate in.

      • Ashleigh

        Thank you both!! We are currently trying to renovate our theater space so the money is deffffffinitely useful. Fingers crossed that we get a nice turnout!!!

        • Ashleigh

          OK – I’m baaaack!! After discussing with the other members of the group, we’ve decided we want to do a suggested $5 donation (benefiting the theater group) AND a nonperishable (benefiting the food bank). Is there a non-tacky way to say this where it doesn’t look like we’re providing a list of rules for entry?

          • Winifred Rosenburg

            You can say “Suggested Admission: $5 and a non-perishable food item.” I would also suggest a note “food donations will be given to XYZ Charity” if possible with the charity’s website so people can know where their donation is going.

          • Alicia

            You are welcome to do so and the wording would be
            ” Admission: $5 and one nonperishable item for the food bank”

            That said that admission would make sure that I would not attend. The likelyhood that I would remember a food bank non perishable item is close to 0 and $5. It is just complex and prevents the Hey lets go to this event of lets go out to dinner and to this event or the this event would make a great date.Because who goes to a date carrying a can or two? Not to say that supporting the food bank is not a wonderful thing.
            I suggest
            “Admission:$10 or $5 with a nonperishable item for the local food bank”
            You can decide later if the whole $10 goes to teh theater of if $5 theater and $5 food bank but that makes it simple for those who may not be carrying cans of forget the cans or whatever.

          • Country Girl

            I’m personally am not the biggest fan of the suggested donations. For me, it does seem to come off a bit tacky to suggest an acceptable amount for what should be an act of personal giving.

            I think 2 good options would be to say:

            “Admission $5 plus a non-perishable to benefit the area food bank”
            “Donations gratefully accepted, and will benefit Theater Group’s annual trip to XYZ Competition (or new facilities/costumes). Non-perishable food items also gratefully accepted and will benefit our area food bank.”

            (This way you are neither stifling anyone’s giving spirit nor potentially guilting anyone into giving more than they can. Plus if an attendant has 20 cans of food to give, but no extra cash (or) $100 to give, but no time to go out and buy food items, then they can still fee good about contributing.)

            Just a thought!

        • Ashleigh

          Thank you all again so much!!! I agree CG, I feel like “suggested donation” means “you better give us x or you’re going to look like a cheapskate.” The “suggested donation” at the Met in NYC is something like $20. If you don’t give them the full $20, you get a sneer and a sigh.

          • Bunnyface

            I was at the Met last week. Suggested donation for adults is $25. I am a student and paid much, much less than that, and was met with neither sneer nor sigh. The lady thanked me and handed me a metal admission thingy.

          • Ashleigh

            My boyfriend and I used to go a lot for his art history assignments. His teacher specifically told the students that a dollar should be sufficient. I don’t know if the people were always having bad days when we went, or maybe because there were 2 of us, but they always acted like we were just robbing them blind by giving the $2 his teacher suggested. As much as I love the Met, there will never be a day when I pay $25 entry.

          • Bunnyface

            I guess maybe you got cranky people, or I got nice people. I felt bad about not being able to pay the suggested amount, but it will be a long, long time from now before I am able to give the Met $25. I couldn’t even give them the suggested student amount.

  2. Robert Fisher

    We had a superbowl betting pool in the office. I won part of the prize (it is divided into quarters), but when the time came to be paid out, the organizer kept back some, I guess for the work of overseeing the process. Is this normal in such situations? I didn’t see this stated in the original email. I won $375, and he kept back $20. Does this seem reasonable?

    • Alicia

      Congrats on winning the pool. Why not just ask the organizer? “Oh I thought I was to win $395 not $375?
      Maybe someone did not pay their bet? Maybe you misunderstood the rules and a larger amount goes to the winner of the whole game? Maybe a 20 got missed in the counting. Nothing rude about asking for what you think is your due in a nice way.

  3. Meredith


    I am reading the newest edition of Etiquette and I noticed the EPI did not address forum and message board etiquette. What are the guide lines for discussions on message boards?

    • Jody

      Meredith — I think each forum/message board has its own rules. Some are moderated and some aren’t; some specify “keep things polite” and some are very freewheeling. If a forum or message board doesn’t have specified rules, the best thing might be to lurk (read without posting) until you get a sense of how that forum operates.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      Two things that bother me about certain message boards are 1)some people don’t stick to the topic and 2)some people are downright mean and attack other users. It’s possible, as Jody suggested, that the requirement to stay on topic will vary depending on the message board (I’ve yet to see an etiquette rule specifically for message boards), but since attacks are never polite in life there is no exception for message boards.

      • Alicia

        Additionally many message boards with have a FAQ or rules they exopect followed.And as always the case on the internet WRITING IN ALL CAPS is obnoxious and percieved as screaming.

    • Zakafury

      Indeed it is mostly based on the board. Some are very particular about certain things. “Signing” your posts may be taboo, and it may be the norm.

      Best etiquette on forums certainly includes proper grammar and orthography – at least up to a colloquial level.

      Also, one should never provide contact information for other people – including email addresses.

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