Charitable Birthday Parties
Looking for a way to make your child’s next birthday more meaningful? Here are some ideas to add to the celebration. Having a birthday party that raises awareness for others in need is as easy as one, two, three. Pick a theme that matches your child’s interests, choose an activity that sounds fun and select the nonprofit you'd like to benefit.
Is your child ready to have a charitable birthday party this year? Salina Kahn’s article can help you get the conversation started.
Step 1: Choose a Theme
Your birthday party theme can be anything you want! We've highlighted four themes as examples to help you think through what a charitable birthday party might look like. These themes are Going Green, Helping Families, Rescuing Animals and Sharing the Arts. We've also included two sample invitations so you can see how to incorporate your theme into the invite.
Step 2: Plan Activities
When you plan an activity, you will want something that is interactive, age appropriate, enjoyable and memorable for everyone involved. Based on the theme examples, below are some activities that could be just the right fit for your party.
Going Green Activities:
- Plant a tree in a park (with approval, of course)
- Create a trash scavenger hunt (milk cartons, granola bar wrappers, metal food cans, etc.)
- Decorate reusable grocery bags
- Plant a garden
- Make or decorate a rain barrel (more information on rain barrels from Bridging the Gap)
- Explore the Follow That Trail! activities book from the Environmental Protection Agency
Helping Families Activities:
- Build a food can castle
- Bake goodies for a shelter
- Fix a meal for the homeless
- Put together a care package for a new baby or someone in the military
- Create a birthday party supply box for families celebrating birthdays in a shelter
Rescuing Animals Activities:
- Make dog treats
- Walk dogs at a shelter
- Make a bird feeder
Shaping the Arts Activities:
- Create a skit or learn a song to perform at an elderly center
- Make cards for someone in the military or in the hospital
- Make a crown for an ill child
- Stuff a teddy bear to donate to a hospital or shelter
- Paint a group painting for someone in a hospital or an elderly center
Step 3: Ask Guests to Bring Donations
Depending on the age of your child, he or she may be ready to ask friends to bring donations instead of presents. For those who are still a little too young for this concept, consider asking party guests to accompany a small gift with easy-to-find donations such as:
Going Green Donations:
- Plastic bottles
- Aluminum cans
Helping Families Donations:
- Children’s clothing
- Canned goods or boxed meals
- School supplies
- Birthday party supplies for shelters
- Baby care products
Rescuing Animals Donations:
- Dog or cat food
- Pet toys
- Kitty litter
Sharing the Arts Donations:
- Art supplies for shelters or schools
- Reading books for shelters
Step 4: Choose a Nonprofit
Where will you take the donations? That’s easy, too. Visit Kansas City's nonprofit search to find a nonprofit organization relevant to your theme. Just choose your interest area from the “organization classification.” By adding your city or zip code to the Advanced Search line, you can find an organization near you. Some will even let you host a party onsite.
Step 5: Use a Giving Card as a Party Favor
Finally, what to give to the children who attend your child’s birthday party? You can purchase $10 Giving Cards for party favors. Much like retail gift cards, Giving Cards are given to celebrate special occasions. They can be redeemed to benefit any 501(c)(3) public charity in the United States (including schools, churches and synagogues) by going online to www.gkccf.org or by mailing the card to or dropping the card off at the organization of your choice. It's a wonderful opportunity for a child to learn about different charities and decide where to give the money. Click here for more information on $10 Giving Cards.
"Giving back is an important part of life and I want my children to grow up actively involved in a variety of charitable giving opportunities. These experiences help develop a sense of empathy for others and impact how generous my children will be in the future." - Jill Grotzinger, who helped her 6-year-old daughter Elliot throw a birthday party that made a difference. Guests at the party made dog treats and delivered them to the Furry Kids' Refuge. Did your child have a charitable birthday party? Tell us your story below, and we’ll share it in on our blog!