Frequently Asked Questions for Shoppers

Below are answers to questions you may have about Gift Hope MGM.  

The Basics

What is Gift Hope MGM, who is sponsoring it, and why is it being held?

It is an annual Christmas-time event to raise funds for up to three dozen River Region nonprofit community service organizations, and to educate the community about the work that these organizations do.  It is meant to provide a convenient one-stop shopping opportunity for benefactors to purchase specified services in the name of individuals whom they wish to honor with a non-conventional gift.  Rather than buying a new necktie or scarf for friends, family members, or work place colleagues, the “shopper” underwrites specific needs of designated nonprofit(s) – for example, a week’s worth of hot meals for an elderly couple in need, medical supplies, or one night’s shelter for a homeless family.  (Gifts will be available at a variety of prices, starting at $5.)  In a very real sense, the gift you give will be a gift of hope.

The “shopper” receives a card and envelope to give the gift recipient a card announcing the gift/gifts made in the recipient’s honor and the name/names and services of the designated nonprofits.  The generosity of shoppers (benefactors) thus provides alternative gifting opportunities in honor of gift recipients, as well as funding for worthy organizations.

Gift Hope MGM is being sponsored by the Work Area on Church & Society of the First United Methodist Church of Montgomery, Alabama, and is very much open to the entire Montgomery area community.  The goal is to foster an alternative gift-giving tradition that stands in contrast to the materialism that so often dominates our Christmas and holiday giving and to broaden the knowledge about the work of the agencies.

When is the event, and where will it be held?

Gift Hope will be “held” both in person and virtually.  The in-person event will be held on Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m. until noon in Cloverdale Park across from First United Methodist Church, Cloverdale Park. This event will be socially distanced, will require masks, and will follow other safety requirements as recommended at the time by health officials.  Online shopping will be available from November 21 – December 13.

We will also be hosting an expanded virtual event that will include videos of all nonprofits, links to additional information about each nonprofit and the ability to “shop” online.

Shoppers will receive cards for recipients and additional materials at the event or for online shoppers, through the mail the week following a purchase.

What nonprofit groups will be participating in this year’s Gift Hope MGM?

Approximately three dozen nonprofits from around the River Region will participate. The groups’ missions are diverse and include feeding the hungry; improving housing; assisting homeless and other persons to achieve stability; supporting families and children in need; teaching literacy, leadership, and life skills to adults and youth; protecting the natural world; and caring for those with health or other therapeutic needs.


What is an ‘alternativegift and what will it look like?
An alternative gift is a contribution that funds a specific need in our community, as opposed to an item that the gift recipient may not want or need. Be on the lookout for a list of alternative gifts that will be offered at Gift Hope MGM this year. For every alternative gift you “buy,” you will receive an attractively designed card (with envelope). The card says “A gift has been given in honor of _______ to the organization _______ to provide _____________ / Given by _______.” Gift prices start at $5 and reach $50 or $100 (varying by group).

How will shoppers buy ‘gifts’ at Gift Hope MGM?
Each participating group will offer variously priced “gifts” that fund a specific need of the organization and the people it serves. Upon entering the event, shoppers will receive an order form listing the available gifts, along with the gift prices. Shoppers will then have the opportunity to speak with nonprofit representatives to learn more or browse the exhibit tables for additional information. After visiting with these representatives, shoppers will decide which gifts they’d like to purchase, then take their completed form to a central checkout station. Volunteers at the checkout station will total the amounts, collect the money that is due in a single payment (in cash, credit/debit card or by check made out to FUMC/Gift Hope), and provide an appropriate number of cards and envelopes. Shoppers then fill out and deliver or mail the gift cards on their own.

Financial Details

What portion of my contribution will go to the nonprofit my gift is intended to support?
100%. The Church & Society Work Area of First United Methodist Church is underwriting the entire administrative costs of the Gift Fair as a community service and as an expression of faith. We have asked participating groups to use the contributions they receive for their advertised purposes, but we cannot guarantee this.

Are my contributions through Gift Hope MGM tax deductible?
Yes, for tax purposes, the total amount of your Gift Hope MGM “purchase” is to be treated as a contribution to First United Methodist Church (even though the Church will be forwarding the funds to the appropriate organizations). You may use the duplicate Purchase Form as tax documentation; however, the church will also send tax deduction verification to you in January 2021.


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