Giving back to your community, whether locally or globally, is good for your soul and your wedding business. You will help others, build loyalty and create good PR.
Dr. Mark Hassad, who gives free dental care to those who can’t afford it, says, “We hardly got any of the people we treated on the charity days back as patients (they couldn’t afford to pay), but every time we had a charity day, we got hugely busy for several months after.”
Why Give Back?
Besides promoting your company’s good image, helping others generates more help — those you help will want to do favors in turn. Moreover, you will increase your company’s visibility. Because you do something for free, local newspapers or stations may want to do stories about your wedding business.
Giving back is also a great way to make new contacts in the industry. It can be difficult to connect with prominent wedding pros because their networks are insular. Meeting through volunteer work for a charitable cause you have in common is an effective way to meet and connect as peers.
How to Give Back
Choose one or two organizations, then decide how you will support them. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to give back to an excessive number of charities.
You can donate money, give in-kind donations (think: cosmetics, hair styling services or free photography) or host fundraising events.
Support organizations that align with your type of wedding business to stay true to your brand. If you are a florist, you might give back to Easter Seals. Or, if you specialize in wedding cake baking, get active in your community and host a bake sale to benefit your local food bank.
Where to Give Back
There are countless charities out there, so it can be hard to know which one is right for your wedding business.
One great option is Wish Upon a Wedding, a charity that has helped dozens of couples say “I do” since it launched. Founded in January 2010, the organization provides weddings and vow renewals to couples facing serious illness or a life-altering circumstances.
Liz Guthrie, founder of Wish Upon a Wedding, is a wedding planner with a background in nonprofit work. She has found that this charity work allows her — and other wedding professionals — to help people celebrate love, while encouraging those in the industry to give selflessly.
That is exactly what happened in Chicago, which is also the hometown of Peter Merkle, Chief Energy Officer of ChicagoWeddingDJs.com, founding member of the Chicagoland Chapter of the American Disc Jockey Association and author of “How To Have A Dream Wedding (and Avoid the DJ Nightmare).”
After winning the Book More Brides Sweepstakes, Peter chose to give the $200 donation he won to the Chicago Chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding, because “it’s a great way to give back.”
Creating partnerships with others can increase your impact and result in a great business relationship. Consider working with another wedding business or nonprofit organization following the example of Gina Reardon, owner of Catering by Design. She partnered with other caterers, bakeries and celebrity chefs, becoming one of the top fundraising teams in the U.S. to help No Kid Hungry.
Brides for a Cause, a bridal store that raises funds for charity, is another great example of a wedding business that’s giving back. They have exclusively partnered with Wish Upon a Wedding to collect and resell wedding dresses on behalf of the charity. They accept the dresses, sell them, and send 50% of the proceeds to Wish Upon a Wedding.
How do you give back?
Megan Miranda is a Portland, Oregon-based blogger, writer and business owner. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her baking bread and planning her own wedding.