It’s easier than you think to turn a birthday party into a charitable event. Planning a charity birthday party can be fun and fulfilling.

The idea is simple: Instead of giving gifts, guests are asked to donate to an organization or worthy cause.

Americans love to have fun. They also have a solid history of “giving back.” As a matter of fact, the largest source of charitable giving in 2019 was $309 billion from people like you and me. So combining celebrations with charitable giving makes sense.

Anna Sikora thinks so. About three years ago she was planning a huge 5th birthday bash for her son but wasn’t excited about guests bringing more toys into their home. Her son, now 8, is a natural animal lover who wants to be a veterinarian someday. So instead of toys, they asked each guest to bring dog and cat toys, food, beds and treats to donate.

“The day after his party, we drove him to the local ASPCA shelter and had him hand out all the gifts to the shelter animals,” said Sikora, who works at ZM Communications.

5 charity birthday party tips

charity birthday party t shirt

Whether your guest of honor is turning 10 or 90, charity birthday parties are a big hit. Here are some valuable tips for your unique celebration:

1. Choose a reputable charity or cause

Start by doing some research on charitable organizations you’d like to support. It’s often easier to find information on a local charity via court documents and tax filings. You can also check out the Federal Trade Commission, which provides valuable advice and links for researching specific charities.

Sarah Hamilton, a social impact specialist at Benefactions, recommends using Charity Navigator to vet nonprofit organizations.

“There are over 1.5 million charities in the U.S., but finding a trustworthy charity doesn’t have to be hard,” Hamilton said.

2. Contact the charity

Get in touch with the charity of your choice to find out what they need most. The information they give will help you create a list of items guests can donate. This is also the perfect opportunity to ask how the organization prefers to receive donations.

3. Create your party theme

Create a theme with your charity or awareness message in mind. Use it to design your invitations, birthday favors and party supplies, and decorations. Before using an organization’s logo, be sure to read its copyright terms and conditions.

4. Reveal your plan

Use your invitations or other forms of communication to let guests know the party will benefit a specific charity. Be clear that your intention is to support the charity instead of receiving personal gifts. Provide information about the charitable organization such as literature and a website address. Don’t forget to include a list of items that guests can bring to the party to donate such as clothing for a homeless shelter.

5. Thank guests for their support

It’s important to let your guests know you appreciate their support for your charity. Tell them their donations are instrumental to your efforts! Express your gratitude and draw exposure to your charity with personalized guest favors. Give everyone a customized T-shirt or can cooler that commemorates the event and promotes the charity. They’ll love it!

Keep the spirit of giving alive

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Piyushi Dhir of Canada learned about helping others at an early age. As a child, she was instructed to donate one toy to charity for each one she received for her birthday.

“This served two purposes, reducing the number of toys in the house so they didn’t get out of control and teaching us from a young age the importance of giving,” said Dhir, the owner of Help and Wellness.

For an upcoming birthday celebration, Dhir plans to ask each guest to bring a small gift, such as food or clothing, to be donated to those in need in her community.

“I am a firm believer that giving actually brings more joy than receiving,” Dhir said.


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