I had the opportunity to work with a really cool, local business lately and I can’t resist sharing it with you.
Let me set the very familiar scene that represents my love/hate relationship with kids’ birthday parties…
You host your child’s party. The entire class has been invited and fifteen kids show up. There’s cake, balloons, and presents. Lots of presents. Lots of new plastic, random, duplicated toys. Woo. hoo.
It feels like after every holiday it takes some time for this new “stuff” to find a home in our playroom. Why? Because it’s packed to the ceiling with more “stuff.” It sometimes looks like a Toy R Us distribution center with an American Girl twist.
Kids love presents, but even they recognize that more isn’t always better. So what’s the solution? Some kids do a charity party where guests are asked to bring cans of dog food for rescues or books for the local library. That’s cool and great for the community, but the kids gets nothing. No matter how invested the child is in the charity, there has to be a letdown.
On the other side of the situation, have you ever been that person that dragged your little party guest to Target to pick out a gift for a friend only to have two hours of your life wasted in deliberation between a Barbie or Monster High doll? My favorite is when that gift is deposited into the “gift bin” and opened at home later. I’ve always considered not opening gifts at the party because it’s a pain, but it’s no fun when the giver doesn’t get to see the recipient open it.
When I heard Barb Royal, mom to three, 20-year veteran teacher, Murrells Inlet resident, and founder of KidsCanGiveToo.com, talking about the waste associated with birthday gift giving I started nodding emphatically. Been there, done that, sister. But it seemed like a hopeless situation…until now.
KidsCanGiveToo.com is a site that correlates with your child’s birthday party to raise money for charity, but also gives the guest of honor the best gift of all – cash! Well, kind of.
How it works is that you register the party on the site. Invitations are sent to your party guests either directly through the site either via email or Facebook, or you can send them a direct link in your own email. They RSVP through the site and are asked to make a secure online donation to the charity you and your child select. You hold the party in any location with any theme you’d like, just like always. But this year, half of their donation goes to the charity, the other half goes to your child in the form of a Visa gift card to buy whatever she wants.
Another cool component of the site is how Barb is working really hard to add schools to the charity list. If enough kids choose their school as the party beneficiary, think about how much less fundraising would be required of parents if they had a steady stream of income coming from a source like KidsCanGiveToo. Raise your hand if you enjoy selling wrapping paper or cookie dough. Yeah, me either.
KidsCanGiveToo.com is a win/win/win situation. The kid can choose the gift of his dreams, guests are spared shopping for and wrapping a gift they often don’t get to see the child open, and charities get much needed funds.
If your child’s birthday isn’t for several more months, you can set up a reminder that will be emailed to you closer to the date. Just scroll down on the website until you see the green “Remind” button.
Photo credit: Flickr
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