Sure picking out the party invites, finding a fantastic venue and selecting favors is a lot of fun when planning the perfect birthday party but recently many families are adding a charitable component to their festivities. Years ago it would be rare to get an invitation to a child’s birthday party that read “no gifts please” but today that trend is on the rise. In lieu of gifts, kids are instead increasingly requesting charitable donations either monetary or collecting specific items for a charity.
Six years ago, Westchester resident Rebecca Schleifer found herself in a situation that many parents can relate to. She was planning her daughter’s fourth birthday and started to panic at the sheer number of guests coming. “Our playroom was already bursting at the seams and we really wanted to teach our children the importance of giving back,” she said.
Creating Young Philanthropists
With her husband they created Share Your Wish, a website with a charitable component. “The nice thing about Share Your Wish is that the party host can decide what percentage they want going to charity and what percentage to their child’s gift fund.” The site is a great way for families to start discussing the importance of philanthropy with their little ones and combat conspicuous consumption with the birthday child still feeling special because they do have a fund for a specific gift.
“We want to teach that special gifts have more meaning and that you are never too young to give to others. We even encourage parents to get their children involved in selecting the charities they’ll choose to share their birthdays with,” she added.
The site has users all over the country and the majority of children participating are 4-8 years old. The site has grown over 50% a year for the last five years and raised almost $100,000 in 2017 for various charities.
Choosing a Relatable Charity
Shara Kronick, an Irvington resident along with her now nine-year old daughter Rebecca has given to charities for the past two years on her birthday. Last year they requested guests donate to Birthday Wishes and The Birthday Box. They chose these charities to help less fortunate kids have a birthday party. “It makes me feel good when I am able to help people,” said Rebecca.
The Birthday Box’s New York Division founder (www.thebirthdaybox.org) Stacey Iskovitz strives to make her charity relatable for families that choose to donate to it. “At the core of The Birthday Box’s mission is that every child deserves a birthday party and that’s a concept all kids can relate to. We all have memories of our own celebrations and even at a young age, kids can understand that there are others who wouldn’t be able to celebrate their birthdays without our help. It’s also a good choice because kids can deliver items to our gift room and help us pack boxes. They can be hands on in the process of putting together and delivering birthday boxes. It can be a very real experience that they can enjoy, while helping other kids at the same time” noted Iskovitz.
Gift for a Cause Helps Local Charities
Even if your little one is not quite ready to forego gifts, there are still gift options where a portion of the proceeds are donated to a charity. Our Shop for a Cause virtual storefront features one-of-a-kind gifts with charities such as the Birthday Box, Birthday Wishes, The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital gaining a donation. Be sure to check it out often for a rotating collection of gifts with heart.
Stacey Pfeffer lives with her three young children and husband in Chappaqua. Her articles have been featured in NY Family Magazine, Westchester Parent, Inside Chappaqua and Westchester Family Magazine.