You can’t make me

You can give a gift, or send one.

You can make a contribution, or a donation.

But when a non-profit organization asks you to “make a gift,” they’re making a mistake.

My daughter made me a gift last week — a lovely mug, painted Van Gogh-style, with swirly colors.

That’s making a gift.

Which isn’t what the non-prof is asking you to do. They don’t want you to make something. They want something you’ve already made: your money.

Perhaps non-profs sank into the habit of talking about “making a gift” in an attempt to warm up their “ask” language — perhaps they wanted to get away from cold, corporate terms like donation and contribution. But when they switched their noun, they needed to switch the verb too.

Non-profit organizations are awesome. I’ve made my living, my entire adult life, writing fundraising appeals for non-profit organizations. Most of them do great work, for great causes.

So make them some donations. Make them some great big fat contributions. But don’t make them gifts. Unless they specifically need hand-crafted items. In which case, I’m really interested in why they’re asking you to “make a gift.” (What kind of project would this be? I’m thinking a “Knitting for Knowledge” college scholarship campaign. Or maybe “Homemade Hooch for the Homeless”? Nah, probably illegal. Also not helpful.)

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