Sunday, January 21, 2007

SOUND OFF: RSVP-ING TO CHARITY PARTIES

My readers were of mixed opinion about the best way to respond to the growing trend among holiday-party givers of requesting attendees to make a donation to a specific charity, rather than bringing wine, food or gifts to the party.

"I lose no sleep over this issue," writes Thomas A. Bausch of Milwaukee. "I receive about 100 invitations to charity luncheons and dinners each year, and a charity party is the same thing. If the cause is not one I support, I toss the invitation."

"Consider that most party givers will choose Christian charities," writes Annette Forrest of Lake Forest, Calif. "There is a certain arrogance in assuming that most others are also Christian, or are nonaffiliated but will support your religion."

"I would not attend a party if the stated charity was one that I would ordinarily not support," writes Phil Clutts of Harrisburg, N.C. "I would ask if I could contribute to another neutral charity instead, giving a choice of several. If so, I would be happy to attend."

"Demanding that guests at a holiday party donate to a charity of the host's choice amounts to a cover charge," writes Lori Flores of Riverside, Calif.

Check out other opinions at http://jeffreyseglin.blogspot.com/2006/12/sound-off-charity-parties.html or post your own by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of "The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business" (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of http://www.jeffreyseglin.com, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10014-3610.

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