By Lisa Beth Miller
Couples who want to incorporate giving into their wedding celebrations have several options on how to do so. Here are a few ideas on how to be philanthropic for one of your first acts as a married couple.
Incorporate specific charities into your registry: Allow guests to donate in your honor to a cause that is meaningful to you both. This is especially common for couples who have already established their home. Charities that have a local impact will resonate with guests. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Semper K9 Assistance Dogs – semperk9.org
- ACTS – actspwc.org
- Community Foundation of Northern Virginia – cfnova.org
- Give Back Prince William – givebackpw.org
- Habitat for Humanity Prince William County – habitatpwc.org
Donate instead of giving 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 sign near where your guests will exit. Another option would be to donate to several charities and display one on each table at the reception.
If you receive a duplicate gift or something you know you won’t use, consider donating it to a local charity instead of returning it. Many charities have a list of high need items on their website, or you can reach out to see what needs your favorite charity may have. They could always use your gifts as raffle prizes at fundraising events.
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 assisted living communities.
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.
Be sure whichever route you go that you do your research. Ensure the organization is a 501(c)3 to receive a tax exemption on your gifts and take it a step further to inspect their financial records. If financial documents are not
on their websites that could be a red flag but you can also view them at guidestar.org or request them directly from the charity. Happy giving!