Graduation from college no longer automatically leads to a well-paying job in the career of the graduate's choice. Although asking for money as a gift -- or asking for any gift -- in an invitation has long been considered rude and tacky, times are changing, and graduates need money more than they need a fancy pen set. Emily Post would disagree, but with some polite wording, you can ask for a monetary gift in your graduation invitation without breaking the rules of etiquette
Compose the correct wording in advance. Write out exactly what you want your graduation or graduation party invitation to say before you print or order the invitations. Sleeping on a rough draft overnight will ensure that your invitation and gift request are as detailed (date, time, place) and polite as possible.
Follow the rules of etiquette when asking for cash. Asking specifically for gifts at all in an invitation is still not considered polite, but that does not mean you can't bring up the subject at all. Place a line at the bottom of the invitation similar to, "Your presence is a deeply appreciated gift; if you wish to help (graduate's name) set up (his or her) first home, monetary donations will be deeply appreciated."
Accept other forms of monetary help. Instead of suggesting that "monetary donations will be gratefully accepted" at the bottom of the invitation, write "Your presence is a deeply appreciated gift; if you wish to help (graduate's name) set up (his or her) first home, a gift card (he or she) can use for furniture or other household necessities would be deeply appreciated."
Thank the donor(s). Show your gratitude for the cash or gift cards received and thank the giver with a hand-written note. A mass e-mail is not enough in this situation. If you can, mention what the money or gift card was used for: pots and pans, sheets, towels or a rug for the living room.