The Charitable Registry

How to Use Your Wedding Registry to Support a Good Cause

Including socially conscious wedding ideas in your wedding continues to grow in popularity. A charitable wedding registry is one of the top ways to give back and can do a lot of good for many organizations and people in need. Let's see if a charitable registry right for you!

Why Choose a Charitable Wedding Registry?

Many couples we encountered have lived on their own or together for quite some time and have decided they don't need any more china, linen, or cookware. Or, in many cases, this is the second wedding for one or both of the partners. The top reason for most couples though, is that they have a specific connection to the charity or cause—loss of a family member, the adoption of a treasured fur baby, or professional affiliation to an organization leads the list for many couples.

Choosing a Charity

Even with personal connections, couples may have some ongoing conversations regarding a charitable wedding registry. Supporting a cancer charity, for example, offers dozens of giving opportunities and organizations to help. Just know that charitable giving is as diverse as traditional items on a wedding registry. You may choose a traditional registry for some things you need or want and add a link to one specific charity you wish to support. And, much like choosing household items for a traditional registry, you may want to consider including multiple charities. People like being able to pick something versus being told what charity they should give to. 

Do Your Research

We all enjoy the feeling that giving back gives us. And in theory, a donation to any charity is a good thing. However, you want to make sure that your guests' charities will be donating to 501C3 non-profits and get the maximum amount of donations to people in need. Websites like GuideStar and Charity Watch can help you learn more about the charities you're considering and where their money goes.

It's also a good idea to find out how the charity notifies you of a donation because you want to make sure you send a thank you note! But also be sure they inform the giver that the organization received the gift.

How to Create a Charitable Registry

After selecting a charity and checking them out, you need to find a way to create a registry. Here are some website options for setting up your registry:

  • Register for actual gifts (like towels, bedding, and kitchen essentials) that go to those in need. As guests shop your registry, COCObundle gets the gifts into the right hands through their superhero network of nonprofit partners across the country.
  • Companies like The Good Beginning help couples create a charitable registry. Couples can choose up to three causes they wish to support.
  • Global Giving allows couples to create a fundraising event on their site where you can choose from nearly 6,000 charitable projects around the world.
  • Go Fund Me has a platform to assist non-profits with processing charitable giving. The Human Rights Campaign Fund has established a Go Fund Me wedding registry for couples who want to support equality for LGBTQ Americans.

Sharing the Registry

Much like sharing information on a traditional wedding registry, along with word of mouth, your wedding website is critical. Many wedding websites have a registry tab where you can plug in any necessary information and links. However, a charitable registry may need a little more explanation. Speak from the heart, tell people why you chose to go this route, and again, a personal connection always helps. Here's an example of some introductory text:

"Your love, support, and presence at our wedding is the only gift we need! With that said, friends and family have been asking where we're registered and for gift ideas. So, we've created an online registry…"

This should be followed by a link to your registry on any stores or charitable sites, and a personal story about the charity you chose. You may also want to remark that anyone who wants to make an anonymous donation or a gift to another charity is also welcomed and appreciated. Expect that you will probably get some questions and a few folks who insist on bringing envelopes and gifts to the wedding.

A Few Popular Sites in Time of Need

We know that there are thousands of personal connections and charities in need. Here are a few favorite we've heard many couples choose:

  • Feeding America: Every dollar you give can provide at least 10 meals to families in need through the Feeding America network of food banks.
  • Doctors Without Borders: An independent, global movement is providing medical aid where it's needed most—neutral and impartial.
  • ASPCA: They're founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at humans' hands and must be protected under the law.

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