How to Ask for Gift Donations

Do you dread asking for donations for a group gift? The Public Speaker explains why some people prefer not to participate and what you can do to make the process painless. 

Lisa B. Marshall,
August 23, 2013
Episode #216

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As a working professional and a parent, I get asked to donate money for gifts all the time. In fact, just a few weeks ago, my husband and I were asked to collect gifts for the staff of our kids' summer camp. My husband doesn’t like to ask for gift donations and I know he’s not alone.  Requesting money for a group gift can be uncomfortable.  In today’s episode, I hope to make it a little easier. .

First, it’s important to recognize that not everyone in the group is going to donate and that’s OK.  There will always be people who won’t participate and the key is to be polite and gracious with everyone, regardless of their ultimate decision.  After all there are many legitimate reasons not to donate.

5 Common Reasons People Opt-Out of Gift Donations

Reason #1: “I’m suffering from group gift exhaustion!" Don’t we all feel like this sometimes? At the end of the last school year, one of my friends was asked for donations for 4 preschool teachers, 5 elementary school teachers, the school support staff, and coaches for 3 different sports – all in one week! This can really add up. For some people, the only option is to start saying no.

Reason #2: “Group gifts are too generic. I like to give more personal or homemade items.” Some people enjoy buying teacher gifts, or have a tradition of making homemade gifts. Don’t try to convince these people by telling them that recipients prefer one large gift to “a bunch of junk.” 

As a working professional and a parent, I get asked to donate money for gifts all the time.

Reason #3: "I don’t want someone else controlling my money." Whenever I read an article on the topic of group gifts, the comments nearly always include this line. People are afraid they’ll end up contributing to a gift they don’t like or that the recipient doesn’t want.

Reason #4: "I don’t know the person very well." If you’re asking coworkers to contribute to a gift for someone’s retirement, you’ll probably hear this comment. Unless you work in a very small office, you can’t expect all of your colleagues to contribute to a gift. Would you buy a gift for someone you only recognized from the employee directory?

Reason #5: "Why should I give a teacher a gift? I don’t get gifts for doing my job." A well-meaning parent I know sent email asking for donations for a teacher gift. Only one parent didn’t respond. Rather than leave the child out, my friend let her sign the card. The child’s mother berated her for including her daughter in a gift that she had intentionally not participated in.

The best strategy is to simply offer the option to participate, but make it clear that giving is optional. If someone tells you they don't want to participate, you need to be sure that all your body language and tone of voice express that you understand and respect their decision.

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With that out of way, I want to share a few pointers for making group giving more appealing.....


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