It is always super-helpful to get advice from top experts. One such expert has offered her thoughts on incorporating philanthropy into weddings to Miss A. readers.
Eileen Heisman is a 30+ year expert in the nonprofit sector, advising philanthropists and charities. She is the CEO of National Philanthropic Trust, a donor-advised fund administrator and one of the 25 largest independent grant making institutions in the US.
Here is what she had to say:
“As we enter the spring wedding season, incorporating philanthropy into festivities is beautiful way to channel the love and generosity that marks this joyous time. More and more often, couples are choosing their weddings as the moment to initiate their life-long philanthropic vision.
Identifying and celebrating the causes and organizations that mean the most to you as a couple can be easy as well as strategic when you consider these tips.
Before the Big Day: Choosing Charities
The charities you choose to support together should serve as a sign of the values and experiences you share together. As a couple, discuss these three questions to help identify charities and missions important to you both.
What causes do we feel passionate about as individuals and where is there overlap in what we support?
How much do we want philanthropy to be a part of our special day? Do we want to set aside a specific percentage of gifts to our philanthropic vision?
Is legacy important? Are the causes we choose now something we hope our family will support in the future?
The Wedding Day: Finding the Best Way to Give as a Couple
Couples who want to incorporate giving into their wedding celebrations have several options how to do so. Here are a few ideas:
Incorporate specific charities into your registry. This is especially common for mature couples or those who have already established a home. There are a number of websites to help facilitate your guests’ charitable donations, such as the I Do Foundation, or you can create an online registry where guests give directly to your chosen charities.
Make a donation in lieu of favors. A charitable registry shows that a couple is philanthropically-minded but a donation from the couple makes them philanthropically-active. Celebrate your guests or loved ones by making a gift in their honor. Include news of your charitable donation in your program, menu or have a small sign near where your guests will exit.
If you receive a duplicate gift or something you know you won’t use, consider donating it to a local charity thrift store instead of returning it.
Consider that your charitable acts don’t have to be financial. Work with your caterer or wedding planner to contact shelters or soup kitchens in your area about delivering leftover food from your event or donate flowers to hospitals or nursing homes. Some couples have used their honeymoon as an opportunity to help others by traveling with charities to an exotic location to build shelter, wells, or teach children.
After all, when love is involved, there is no wrong way to give.”