- Celebrate & Donate a fundraiser's story
Celebrate & Donate- A Fundraiser's Story
By Shelley Green - 8 March 2018
Why one happy couple decided to use their wedding to donate to charity and help young people affected by homelessness
Every year, Depaul UK supporters make their special occasions even more special, by choosing to “Celebrate and Donate”.
Instead of receiving gifts for their birthday, wedding or anniversary, supporters choose to give to charity, asking friends and family to make a donation in their name.
It’s a unique and beautiful way to support a charity, but why do people say “no” to gifts and how does it work?
Here’s the story of Cherry and James who decided to Celebrate and Donate for Depaul UK.
In early 2014 Cherry and James were busy planning their wedding celebration.
When they started to discuss the gift list, they both thought about it and decided they had everything they needed.
So instead of making a list and asking for gifts, they asked their friends and family to donate to Depaul UK to help to change the lives of young people experiencing homelessness.
“It was my idea to ask for charity donations. We both already had established homes and plenty of possessions.
“We really wanted our guests’ presence at the wedding, not gifts. My husband to-be completely agreed with me and it meant a lot to us that others much less fortunate than ourselves might benefit from our wedding day.
“I was actually working for Depaul at the time, and saw at first-hand that the young people had no extra money to pay for things like course fees or even transport to interviews, all essential if they are to get education and employment.
“So we asked for the money to be put into a fund that directly paid for small items of expenditure to help young people into work and education. I also wanted to show my appreciation for the remarkable work that the Depaul support workers do by making more money available to support young people.”
Depaul UK supports more than 3,000 young people every year, providing emergency accommodation and long-term support to young people experiencing homelessness.
Young people often arrive at Depaul UK with nothing but the clothes on their back, having experienced rough sleeping or a sudden change of circumstances such as eviction or family breakdown. They frequently have no money and need extra help to get them back on their feet and buy things like food parcels or warm clothing.
Donations from supporters like Cherry can provide a lifeline to young people in crisis, helping us to buy essential welfare items, or help to support our long-term homelessness programmes and services.
Be Our Guest
With the wedding planning in full swing, Cherry’s next job was to get kick start the donations and tell their guests all about their idea.
With the guidance of the Depaul Fundraising Team, Cherry set up a personalised online donation page. It is free to do, and takes just a few minutes to personalise.
Once the page was live, guests could donate directly to Depaul UK, so Cherry didn’t need to worry about running around collecting cash on their big day.
“We included a card with information about donating to Depaul with the wedding invitations. Our guests thought it was a very good idea and many donated more money than they would have spent on a present.”
The Big Day
And what was the wedding day like?
“It was very good fun with the church service in the afternoon for family, friends and the church's congregation, followed by food in church and a steel band in the churchyard.” says Cherry.
“We went straight from the church to a second party at our house garden with more friends and family, and, yes, more food and music, this time with a jazz band and Cajun dance band.
“My memories of the day are of laughter - lots of smiling happy faces, including my own. And the dancing!
“I was very pleased that we asked for donations for Depaul UK as I knew they really would help young people, in some small way, to achieve their goals. Around 40 people made a charity donation in total and we raised £3,000 for Depaul.
“I would definitely encourage people to ask for charitable donations instead of gifts and I would do so again. Asking for donations instead of receiving gifts at a time of celebration felt like the right thing to do.
"There are young people who urgently need financial help more than we ever need gifts.”
Could you Celebrate and Donate?
If you’ve been inspired by Cherry and James and you’d like to use a special occasion to 'give in celebration' and raise funds for young people experiencing homelessness, then please email: firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with our friendly Fundraising Team.