I have a problem, and I’m not sure what to do. Here are the details:
Big Girl’s birthday was last month. When we started planning it she said she wanted to donate her gifts, but she didn’t know which charity would be the recipient this year. Then, one day she was leafing through my Parents Magazine and saw an ad for SmileTrain, an organization that provides cleft lip and palate surgery. The photos are pretty horrifying, so she instantly knew, she said, that this was the charity she wanted her friends to donate to. I agreed, especially after doing due diligence and checking out the organization’s financial statements. Soon after, I emailed out the following note to everyone who had been invited:
Hopefully you’ve all received your invitations. (It was a postcard, so let me know if it didn’t arrive. I know sometimes they get lost inside the newspapers and junk mail.) Big Girl decided she wants to donate her birthday gifts again this year. Tonight, she was flipping through my Parents Magazine and came across an ad for SmileTrain (page 65 in the Oct. 2011 issue), which provides cleft surgery to needy children. She was having trouble telling people what she wanted anyway, she said, and thought this would feel good to do. (There’s a kid in the ad who is eight, “just like I am, Mom.”) Anyway, this is purely optional, of course. You don’t have to bring *any gifts* or you can do your own thing, but if you want to, please feel free to make out a check to SmileTrain. I looked it up. They are a five-star rated charity since nearly 83% of its donations go directly to the operations and medical treatments like speech and orthodontia. I will include a note with the donations requesting the charity not solicit anyone who donates and does not sell or rent anyone’s name.
Okay, so the party went off a few Sundays ago. Many of the guests completely ignored the no gifts thing and brought gifts as well as checks made out to SmileTrain. Some just sent checks. A much smaller group just sent gifts. One child came empty-handed, though. And now here’s my problem: Do I send out an email asking the mom if she sent something or just chalk it up to her deciding she didn’t like the charity and actually listened to my request for no gifts? It’s such a touchy thing. I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I also want to make sure a gift or check didn’t go missing. What would you do?
On the bright side Big Girl’s friends donated $290 to SmileTrain, providing an entire operation to a needy child. I’m so proud of her and of our friends, making a difference in the world.