Monday, 15th September 2003 at 1:09 pm
Australian charities are benefiting from couples who are choosing to marry later in life or for a second time – where wedding bells now don’t have to mean more unwanted toasters but rather gifts with a philanthropic focus.
When two 30-something friends recently tied the knot in Melbourne they invited their wedding guests to donate money towards the children they jointly sponsor through World Vision.
A special card inserted in the invitation provided all the information to make the donation to World Vision easy and very special. It also included a contact name at the organisation to assist with any questions or further information.
World Vision says more and more people are using special occasions such as weddings as a way of assisting their favourite charities. Their website already offers gift packs for other occasions such as Mothers Day or Christmas or special birthdays where donations provide food or building materials to the needy in sponsored countries.
In the US, several philanthropic organisations have set up web-based wedding registries to join couples and wedding guests with a variety of charities or to just one charity nominated by the couple.
The “I Do” Foundation says couples can have their (Wedding) cake and share it too with wedding purchases and donations that raise funds for charity.
The organisation describes itself as a wedding services provider that helps couples incorporate a sense of community into their commitment.
Created by a group of social entrepreneurs, the I Do Foundation builds on the fact that the average age of brides and grooms in the US has risen to almost 29, and more than 60% of couples live together before marriage.
As a result, a significant number of couples already own many of the usual items given as wedding gifts, and they are looking for alternatives. At
the same time, in a reflection of the country’s shifting priorities, couples are looking for more significant ways to celebrate their marriage.
The I Do Foundation helps couples direct some of the average $US20,000 they spend on weddings to charity at no extra cost to the couple or guests.
When couples register there are several ways they can raise donations for charity:
– Charitable Gift Registries: When a couple creates a bridal registry a percentage of all of the money spent on gifts is donated to a charity of the couple’s choice.
– Donation Registry Service: Couples can also create a “Donation Registry”
through which guests make a donation directly to charity, in place of or in
addition to traditional gifts.
The Foundation tracks donations for couples and keeps them up-to-date about how much their wedding has raised for charity.
JustGive.org is another Not for Profit dedicated connecting wedding guests with charities. Its specialised registry allows guests to search and donate online and for couples to check the progress of their wedding donations via a password protected reporting area.
Many of the commercial on-line wedding gift registry services in the States now also include donations to charities. These include marriedforgood.com, nowmarried.com, felicite.com and thebigday.com.