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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Celebrating Generously

Celebrating generously is what this blog is all about, but this motto belongs to the I Do Foundation, which serves as the intersection between the wedding industry and philanthropic causes.  The I Do Foundation offers an amazing array of services and information and is the go-to place for any socially conscious bride.

So, what can you hope to find when visiting the website?  There are links to partners of the I Do Foundation, such as Carlson Craft (an invitation company) that donate a portion of their proceeds to charity.  Other tabs, such as “Honeymoons” and “Favors” include links to organizations that can help you turn your dollar into a donation. Of all the functions featured on the website, the I Do Foundation’s registry information is perhaps the most valuable. 

The I Do Foundation provides information on how to set-up a charity registry through its website so that guests can give directly to the charitable cause of your choice.  While you have to choose a charity from the foundation’s pre-approved list, the foundation provides numerous options that are divided into six categories: Children, Youth, and Families, Community Development, Education, Environment, Health and Social Justice. 

Essentially, your guests can make secure online donations in support of the organization of your choice as their wedding gift to you.  As the website explains, just like a gift registry, the I Do Foundation's Charity Registry shows your guests your giving preferences in order to better guide their giving. When you create a Charity Registry, you may suggest a specific number of donation gifts, or you may allow your guests to make donations freely. You can also specify a dollar amount for each donation, or let guests choose the amount of their gifts. As an added benefit, the I Do Foundation maintains a list of all of the donations made via your registry so that you can thank the guests who supported your charity or charities.



While it is feasible for some couples, particularly those getting married later in life to only establish a charity registry, others like my fiancĂ© and myself are still in need of some basic living essentials. So, while we still plan on making a charity registry an option to our guests, we need some pots and pans too.  Luckily, the I Do Foundation is prepared for this and they offer a gift registry that allows you to furnish your home and help others too.

To create a charitable Gift Registry with the I DO Foundation, you must first register your wedding with them. Once you are registered, you can register with any of their partner stores, such as Target, REI and Mikasa to name a few. Some, like Cooking.com, give as much as 10% back to the charity of your choice, whereas many like Pottery Barn and Amazon donate around 3%.

Another great site that allows you to purchase gifts and help a good cause is GoodShop.com. Like the I Do Foundation, a percent of GoodShop's sales go to giving back to charities. GoodShop allows you to search for your favorite charities and add them to the website if they are not already listed.   You can also see what percent of your purchase will go to that charity. Whether getting gifts for your attendants or searching for outfits for your engagement party, GoodShop will link you to stores like Barnes & Noble, J Crew, JC Penney and Banana Republic and provide you with coupons.  When you shop at any of the stores featured on GoodShop or use the coupons a percent of your purchase goes to whatever charity you pick. You can also search GoodShop.com by categories, such as "Back to School" and "Garden" to quickly find the perfect gift or item.

Additionally, GoodShop is affiliated with GoodSearch.com, a search engine with a unique social mission.  With every web search, GoodSearch generously gives back to charity by giving fifty percent of the revenue from sponsored search results to the featured nonprofits.  GoodSearch is a great way to do your many, many wedding related Google searches and even if you aren't planning a wedding, GoodSearch and GoodShop provide great resources for everyday gift giving. After all, what's easier than helping others just by clicking a mouse?


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