It is still considered a bit rude to ask for contributions to the
child's college savings plan on formal invitations to a party, shower
or reception. The purpose of an invitation is ask the guest to
participate in your special occasion, not to solicit gifts. However,
if you decide to mention your preferences on the invitation, the
mention should be understated and very brief, near the RSVP line. For
example, "Gifts to the child's college savings plan are preferred",
"CHILD'S NAME participates in the ABC College Savings Plan" or "Please
consider a contribution to XYZ charity or the child's college savings
plan instead of a gift." Alternately, your gift preference could be
mentioned in a lighthearted manner in a short poem enclosed with the
invitation, such as the following:
If you wish to give a present
please grace us with your presence.
There's no need for a trinket or a toy,
or other material gifts to our pride and joy.
But consider giving the gift of knowledge,
by helping us send CHILD'S NAME to college.
Another option is for friends and family to register with a
loyalty rebating program
like Upromise. They can arrange for the rebates they earn to be
automatically contributed to your child's 529 college savings plan.
People are more likely to contribute to a child's college savings plan
if they have a close personal connection with the child. Keep them up
to date on the child's milestones, hobbies, honors and awards. Many
schools are now providing password-protected "portfolio" web sites
that showcase special projects completed by the child.
Send a personalized handwritten thank you note when you receive a
contribution to your child's college savings plan, the same as you
would for a more traditional gift. (You do send thank you notes, don't
you?) Sending a thank you encourages repeat gifts.
If someone contributed to your child's college savings plan, invite
them to the graduation party or reception when the child graduates