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Frequently Asked Questions

General Inquiries

From chain letters to telemarketing, wish granting to funding sources, we want to ensure you get the answers to whatever questions you have about Make-A-Wish and how we do, and don't, conduct business.

Feel free to review some of the most frequently asked questions and see if your answer is there. Otherwise, click below to send us a message and we will respond to you promptly. 

Click on a question to see the answer. Don't see the question you are looking for? Contact us.

Chain Letters:

Chain Letters and Sweepstakes

Occasionally, Make-A-Wish and its supporters fall victim to scams that illegally make use of the good name and trademarks of Make-A-Wish. As a matter of policy, Make-A-Wish does not participate in chain letters, telemarketing or sweepstakes activities.

Make-A-Wish does not participate in chain letter or other direct solicitation wishes. Each day, Make-A-Wish America and chapters receive hundreds of inquiries regarding chain letters claiming to be associated with Make-A-Wish. As a matter of policy, Make-A-Wish does not conduct these types of wishes – including internet and email requests.

If you receive a chain letter:

  • Please reply to the sender and inform him or her that Make-A-Wish does not participate in these kinds of wishes.
  • Refer the sender and all participants to this page.
  • Please do not forward the chain letter.

Read more about chain letters

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Does Make-A-Wish telemarket?

Make-A-Wish does not, under any circumstances, engage telemarketers to raise money, despite sometimes being confused with other organizations that do. In fact, Make-A-Wish has a nationwide policy against telephone and door-to-door solicitation. There are a number of other sound-alike organizations — some also with "wish" in their names. Make-A-Wish has no affiliation with any other wish-granting organization. If you receive a call from someone asking for a donation, ask the caller to send you more information.


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What are your sources of funding?

Make-A-Wish America finances its work through individual contributions, corporate donations, foundation grants, planned gifts and chapter fees and assessments. Make-A-Wish relies on in-kind contributions to lessen the cost of goods and services. Local chapters are funded in much the same way and also rely on special events and in-kind donations. Make-A-Wish does not solicit contributions over the phone or door-to-door.


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Cash Donations

You can donate:

You can also help in other ways:

Learn about more ways to help.

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Wedding Favors, Birthdays, and Memorials

Some brides and grooms choose to make a donation in lieu of wedding favors as a heartfelt way to honor groomsmen, bridesmaids, family members or guests. Others choose to make a donation as a wedding gift to the bride and groom.

Wedding Certificates

Choose customized certificates, available in printable .PDF format, for brides and grooms who donate in honor of their guests, or those who want to honor the bride and groom. There is no minimum donation.

Wedding Cards

If you want to make a donation in honor of someone and have Make-A-Wish send him or her a card, you have two options:

  1. Classic tribute cards, which carry a minimum donation of $15 per card

  2. The All Occasion greeting cards, which carry a minimum donation of $20 per card

How do I start a tribute campaign in honor of a special occasion or in lieu of flowers?

Some Make-A-Wish supporters choose to start an online fundraising campaign in honor of their birthdays, weddings or in memory of someone special. Learn about online fundraising campaigns to get started.


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Certificate Won't Print

  • If your certificate did not appear immediately for you to print, or if you are unable to view it, then take note of your Trans ID # and close the page.
  • Go to your email account and look for an email from Make-A-Wish. You should see a link to view your certificate online. Click on this link and see if your certificate appears. (This link will only work for 24 hours from the time the email was sent.)
  • If you click on the link but your certificate still is not visible, try downloading Adobe Acrobat Reader for free.
  • After downloading and reinstalling the Adobe Acrobat, if you are still unable to view it, please contact Donor Care at 866.880.1382 so we can help you.

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Donate Products or Services

Donations of in-kind items help us grant particular wishes, maximize the resources that we dedicate to granting wishes and support fundraising events. Make-A-Wish has different in-kind needs at different times, so please visit the In-Kind page to learn more about what types of products or services we can use.


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Does Make-A-Wish accept vehicle donations?

If you have a vehicle you would like to donate, please contact your local chapter. Policies for accepting vehicle donations vary from chapter to chapter.


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Is my financial contribution tax deductible?

Yes. Make-A-Wish America is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. As such, financial contributions may be deductible for federal income tax purposes. Please consult with your financial adviser to determine the extent of tax deductibility. Since fiscal year 2014, Make-A-Wish’s financial statements are audited by CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP). View the Foundation's most recent annual report with accompanying financial statements.


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Fulfilling Wishes

Adult Wishes

Does Make-A-Wish grant adult wishes?

Make-A-Wish does not grant wishes to adults older than 18. Read more about our specific eligibility requirements. Other wish-granting organizations serve those older than 18. The following is a list of some organizations that may grant wishes or provide other services to those older than 18:

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Referring a Child

Who can refer a child for a wish?

Out of respect for the privacy of the children and families we serve, children who may be eligible to receive a wish can be referred by one of four sources:

  • Medical professionals treating the child – such as doctors, nurses, social workers or child-life specialists
  • A parent or legal guardian of the potential wish child
  • Family members with detailed knowledge of the child's current medical condition
  • The potential wish child

If you are not eligible to refer a child, please ask the child’s family to visit our website, or feel free to share the wish referral inquiry form with them.

Who is eligible for a wish?

A child who has reached the age of 2½ and is under the age of 18 at the time of referral who has a critical illness is potentially eligible for a wish.

How can I refer a child?

To initiate the referral inquiry process for a child who lives in the U.S. or one of its territories, use our online wish referral inquiry form.

If you would like to learn more about referring a child residing outside the U.S., please contact Make-A-Wish International.

What is your wish referral privacy policy?

Make-A-Wish respects the privacy of the children and families it serves. All medical information is considered confidential and is not discussed with outside parties unless it is required for the wish and the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) have given their consent. More about our privacy policy.


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Does a child's condition have to be terminal to qualify for a wish?

No. Many of the children who qualify for a wish go on to lead healthy lives. We grant the wishes of medically eligible children (i.e., those diagnosed with critical illnesses — a progressive, degenerative or malignant condition that has placed the child's life in jeopardy).


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Are there any restrictions on a wish?

Each Make-A-Wish chapter follows specific policies and guidelines for granting a child's wish. The physician also plays a major role in determining whether the child's condition will permit a particular wish to be coordinated safely. Make-A-Wish staff members work closely with the wish child's physician to determine the most appropriate time to grant the wish, keeping in mind the child's treatment protocol or other concerns.


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Does the family have to pay for the wish?

No. All wish expenses are fully covered, including all travel and spending money when appropriate. Make-A-Wish's objective is to create a memorable wish experience for both the child and family that is not clouded by financial concerns.


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Does the wish family have to meet income qualifications before a child can receive a wish?

No. Family income is not a consideration in determining whether a child is eligible to receive a wish.


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How can I volunteer?

Volunteers are the backbone of Make-A-Wish. Only through the hard work and commitment of nearly 34,000 volunteers is Make-A-Wish able to continue granting more wishes to children with critical illnesses each year. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities in your community, visit our Volunteering section.

International Volunteers

If you are interested in volunteering in a country outside of the U.S., contact Make-A-Wish International.


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How can I fundraise for Make-A-Wish?

From conducting online fundraising campaigns to coordinating events to hosting school programs, there are fundraising opportunities for everyone to help Make-A-Wish grant more wishes.

If you are interested in fundraising for Make-A-Wish, please visit the fundraising section of our website.


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Wish Granting

How are wishes granted?

Every wish requires a caring community of people who want to improve the lives of children with critical illnesses. It takes an incredible amount of brainpower, creativity, time and generosity to grant every eligible child’s most heartfelt wish. Together, generous donors, supporters, staff at 60 Make-A-Wish chapters and nearly 40,000 volunteers grant a wish every 34 minutes, on average, somewhere in the U.S. With each wish comes renewed energy and strength for every child and family we serve.

If you would like to learn more about the wish referral process, who qualifies, and who can refer a child for a wish, visit our Wish Referral section.

If you would like to learn more about referring a child residing outside the U.S., please contact Make-A-Wish International.


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How much does granting a wish cost?

The cost associated with coordinating a wish varies depending on the type of wish, but as of 2018, the average cost of a wish was $11,161.


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What are the most requested wishes?

Many of the wishes granted to children with critical illnesses are for experiences such as getting a puppy, seeing snow for the first time, meeting a favorite celebrity, being a cowgirl or getting a backyard tree house. But about 77 percent of wish experiences involve travel and The Walt Disney Company is involved in approximately half of the wishes Make-A-Wish grants.


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Media Inquiries

Media Inquiries

We provide a number of resources for reporters, writers and bloggers in the News & Stories section of our site, from News Releases to resources and background information.

If you would like to contact someone from our Communications team, or if you want to feature a wish story or other content on your website or blog, please use the media request form, available here, to connect with us.


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Working with Us

At Make-A-Wish, we are more than a great place to work — our work is life-changing. We are an inclusive and diverse group of people who, through a mosaic of backgrounds, thought and experiences, are united in purposeful work. We are fueled and guided by our values — values that are represented in the inspired people we work with and the transformational work we do, every day.

Make-A-Wish is the world's leading children's wish-granting organization, serving children in every community of the U.S. and in 50 countries worldwide. In 1980, the inspiration for Make-A-Wish began with one little boy's wish to be a police officer. Today, together with our volunteers, donors, staff and supporters, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 330,000 life-changing wishes to children in the U.S. and its territories and transformed countless lives. 

To learn more about the Make-A-Wish culture and to find open positions and internship opportunities, please visit our Careers page.


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