I originally got the idea for our charitable favors after a Buffalo Exchange shopping trip. Buffalo Exchange has a program called Tokens for Bags where, if you bring your own shopping bag, they’ll give you a 5-cent token to give to one of the three charities they’ve picked. I thought I could use that concept for wedding favors: instead of giving people a physical favor, I gave them $3 to donate.
I made the tokens and envelopes myself for minimal cost; I already had a ton of origami paper, and I got a 500-pack of the wooden circles for the tokens from CraftParts.com. I stenciled the hearts onto the tokens with colored Sharpies.
Each guest got three tokens and a sheet of instructions. Here’s the text of the instructions:
Instead of traditional favors, we’ve chosen to do charitable favors! You get to choose which charitable organizations will receive your favor donations.
Your envelope includes three tokens; each token is worth one dollar. At Max and Sophia’s table, there are three jars representing different charities. Choose which charity jar to add your tokens to; spread them out or donate to just one, it’s your choice! We will make a donation to each charity in the amount of the total tokens placed in each jar.
The charities we’ve chosen are:
Animal Rescue League of Boston, dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife (and the place where we adopted our kitty!)
The Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization, founded by legendary conservationist John Muir.
Médecins Sans Frontières, delivering emergency medical aid to people around the world affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural or man-made disasters.
Have fun and give freely!
Max and Sophia
Throughout the reception, guests came up and added their tokens to the labeled jars on our sweetheart table. (This had the added bonus of helping us see and socialize with everyone while also getting a chance to eat!)
After the wedding, we simply screwed the tops back on the jars, brought them home, and counted the tokens the next day!
We ended up donating $71 to Animal Rescue League, $123 to Médecins Sans Frontières, and $58 to The Sierra Club. I was much happier spending the money this way rather than buying traditional favors, and I think my guests were too!