Every day there are thousands of birthdays, weddings and babies born. Every day there are thousands of birthday parties, wedding receptions, baby showers, dinner parties, retirements and graduations. Every day there are hundreds of thousands of gifts bought to celebrate special occasions.

Every year 140 million people purchase or receive a gift with an average value of US $59, according to the Every Monday Matters (a tip giving book on how to make a difference in the world).

So what if a large percentage of those 140 million people (who, let's face it are all likely to be on the richer side of poverty) gave up their gift for the sake of a charity or not-for-profit group? Those that want stuff would get a bit less, those that need stuff would get a bit more.

So how do you ask people to redirect their gifts, assuming they were going to buy one for you in the first place? Spell it out loud and clear on the invitation/email/face-to-face and give them some direction on how to contribute to your selected charity. Changing The Present is a great website if you'd like to give your giver more leeway on where they spend their dosh.

If it's a party you're hosting why not collect money on the door? Obviously it's best to warn guests before they arrive with wrapped gift under arm.

Partying with a purpose feels great for everyone and if you're someone who likes not to be the centre of attention it's a good way to shift the focus from you to something that you care about.