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Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alternative giving is a form of gift giving in which the giver makes a donation to a charitable organization in the recipient’s name, rather than giving an item. The idea of giving something to one person by paying another was invented by Benjamin Franklin as a "trick [...] for doing a deal of good with a little money", which came to be known as "pay it forward."[1]

This form of giving is often used as an alternative to consumerism and to mitigate the impact of gift giving on the environment.[2] Charities that promote this type of donating will normally provide a card or certificate describing the donation, often with an example of how the donation will be used (such as one day’s worth of food for a hungry person) or a symbolic denomination, called "ownership" or "adoption" (of an animal or a tree for example). Some charities promote alternative giving at weddings in place of wedding favors normally providing several cards to be left on tables at the reception letting guests know a donation has been made rather than individual cards for each guest.[3]

Sometimes several charitable organizations gather in an "alternative gift fair", "holiday fair" or "Christmas bazaar" to attract donors by providing them a wider selection of choices.[4]

An organization that specializes in alternative gifts is Alternative Gifts International. Another name sometimes used for alternative gifts is virtual gifts, but this term is ambiguous.

Pop culture

The concept was spoofed in the Seinfeld episode "The Strike". George Costanza, angry to have received a donation to charity instead of an actual gift, made up his own non-existent charity and handed out fake donations to save money on gifts.

References

  1. ^ Benjamin Franklin to Benjamin Webb, April 22d, 1784
  2. ^ Simplify the Holidays by the Center for a New American Dream
  3. ^ Marder, Dianna (2002-01-03). "Better to Give and Receive". Lexington Herald-Leader.  
  4. ^ List of alternative gift fairs at AlternativeGiving.org
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