Good morning Washington DC area wedding lovers! Are you ready to celebrate the wonderful generous hearts of the lovely men and women of the Washington DC area who are planning a wedding?! We recently posted on unique ways to have a charitable wedding right here in the DC area. Today, we are taking it one step further and talking all about how to crowd source, or crowd fund through your wedding and turn all of those wedding gifts into donations for a charity. If you are thinking “crowd sourcing, crowd funding, huh?” don’t worry, we are here to clear all that up for you and more!

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Kirsten Bourne and her husband Nick on their wedding day by Annie Nyborg Photography

We reached out to Kirsten Bourne, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Capital Area Food Bank to tell us everything we need to know. Kristin and her husband Nick set up a crowd fund campaign in five minutes for the Capital Area Food Bank’s “A Party Against Hunger Campaign” – so easy!

“Crowd funding is a way for individuals to involve their personal networks to fundraise for an organization,” Kirsten said. “By customizing it and taking ownership, individuals can add their own emotional appeal to the fundraiser and make it more personal.”

In other words, if you’re getting married in the Washington DC area (or anywhere!), your guests, or “crowd” become your “funding team” by raising money to support a charity or cause close to your hearts.

As Kirsten and Nick got settled in the DC area before they wed, they were shocked by the needs of many of their neighbors. “Did you know that one in four kids in the DC area don’t have access to healthy food? We believe there is an abundance around us to help this injustice,” Kirsten said. “So on the occasion of our wedding, we thought that our friends and family would consider helping us raise $3,000 for the Capital Area Food Bank.”

If your fiance and you want to crowd source but aren’t sure where to start, Kirsten advises not to just google search for charities. Think about whether you’re environmentalists, or if you want to improve access to the arts, or care about rescue animals. “I think it’s important to think about what you care about as a couple,” she added. “The most powerful campaign will be one where you’re raising funds for an organization you’re already familiar with through volunteering and events.”

Set-up and Spreading the Word

In Washington DC the Capital Area Food Bank makes it easy for engaged couples to crowd fund in lieu of wedding gifts. Through a few simple steps on the Capital Area Food Bank website, couples can make their wedding a “Party Against Hunger” campaign and support hunger-free communities in the Washington DC area.

Once you’ve selected your charity of choice and established a website or link, the most important step is to share this information with your wedding guests. Kirsten advised engaged couples to share their link with their wedding guests in a few places, and repeatedly over time. “It’s not as simple as ‘if you build it, they will come,’” she said. “You need to remind your wedding guests that you are trying to raise money, why you care about the cause and how their money will translate to impact.”

You can embed your crowd fund link on your wedding registry, wedding web site or even promote it on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages – then watch the support flow in!

The Perfect Wedding Gift

Do you have a lot of procrastinating friends who are invited to your wedding? Or are your fiancé and you procrastinators yourselves? The crowd fund charity gift is the perfect last-minute wedding gift, because it only takes a few minutes to create. “Most people are last minute, not just the couple, so your wedding guests will probably appreciate how easy it is to check ‘wedding gift’ off of their to-do list,” Kirsten said.

Crowd funding in lieu of wedding gifts is also great for the engaged couples who already have everything they need for their home. Maybe you have been living together a while, or this is your second marriage and you really don’t need the usual wedding presents. Wedding guests love to give presents to the married couple to celebrate their union and show their love and support, and with a crowd fund for a charity, you can re-direct these generous gifts to a cause that is important to you.

In addition to spreading the word to your wedding guests about your crowd funding request, you’ll also need to make sure that you set it up early and keep it open well after your wedding date. Set the end date of your crowd fund about a year after your wedding date. Wisdom these days is that wedding guests have a year from the wedding date to give a gift and stay in good standing, Kirsten added. 

Of course, since local love stories are our thing, we can’t leave you without a little romance and background story to Kirsten and Nick! “It may sound cheesy, but we’re both romantics,” Kirsten said. They both always wanted to make the world a better place. Aww! It looks like they are well on their way to doing so with their generous spirits!

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Are you planning on crowd funding for a charity for your wedding in the Washington DC area? Have you been to a charitable wedding? We want to know! Leave a comment for us.

In the meantime, be sure to check out all of the other DC area wedding advice that we have put together for you or look through our list of the best Washington DC area wedding vendors to help you plan your best, most charitable day!

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