Service of Gifts with Strings

November 25th, 2022

Categories: Gifts, Gifts with Strings, Money, Political Campaign, Politicians, Politics

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Strings are what often accompany political donations. You scratch my campaign and I’ll scratch your project–or go easy on you or your company.

However, the figurative kind of strings don’t belong on personal presents. We knew a wealthy woman who gave generous graduation checks to her grandchildren and then complained if some didn’t put the money in savings. She didn’t recognize that it wasn’t a gift if she was to control what they did with the money.

Sometimes people threaten beneficiaries of a will. If they don’t kowtow, they’ll be stricken from the document. A longtime friend of my mother’s suddenly tried to control and question her choices of whom to see and how often. Once mom determined the behavior wasn’t a one-off, it lasted only minutes more. She objected; the woman threatened to alter her will so that her daughter wouldn’t receive her antique gold coin collection. “Keep it,” said mom. That was it. Mom was right.

My friend Nancie suggested another kind of gift-with-string: The pads and address labels that accompany fundraising requests. We both admitted putting the “gifts” to good use and not filling the return address envelopes with checks.

It’s holiday tip time in apartments and offices around the country. Do tenants demand to know what workers do with their gifts? What about recipients of giant Wall Street and corporate bonuses—are they expected to divulge to employers what they do with their $millions? NO! So why do some people feel that they are entitled to control when they give a present?

What examples of gifts with strings have you noticed? Has anyone tried to tie you up? Do you use the “gifts” that charities include with requests for support without sending money?

Image by Steve Norris from Pixabay 

4 Responses to “Service of Gifts with Strings”

  1. lucrezia Said:

    A gift which comes with strings and/or conditions of any kind, isn’t a gift. It’s a bribe. The best charities don’t send anything in return for donations and are usually found to get three/four stars, highest approval rating from Charity Navigator.

    With the holidays just around the corner, and the disgraceful number of folks unable to feed themselves and families properly, if at all, considering a gift to Meals on Wheels and/or Mazon, whose help is nonsectarian would go a long way in helping out. Dorot, another four-star winner, provides Kosher meals to the elderly and home-bound unable to fend for themselves.

    No blankets, calendars, pads or totes are sent in recognition of generosity, but the good feeling one gets for just helping out, is priceless.

  2. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook: I must admit, and guess I should be ashamed, but yes I use the memo pads, calendars & return address labels charities send this time of the tear and do not necessarily make a donation. But I’m comfortable with my overall charitable giving level and prefer to make my own selection of benefactors. As for gift-giving “demands,” once you give a gift it’s out of your hands. Whatever a recipient does with it is up to them far as I’m concerned. (PS, like your “strings attached graphic whether intended or not.)

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I, too, increasingly worry about people who have no food for their families and themselves. It’s as terrible in August as on Thanksgiving and during the holidays when families and friends gather where feasting is a centerpiece. To add to your list are food pantries, like Saint Francis Food Pantries and Shelters and other organizations like Jose Andres’ World Kitchen; Gods Love we Deliver and Feeding America.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I often get guilt incentive-gifts from organizations to which I’ve donated but the budget doesn’t allow for another check for a while. I always use the pads and address labels sent me.

    I suspect some charities sell my name to others, which is annoying.

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