Why I Am Doing A Wedding Fundraiser For Education Instead Of Receiving Gifts

Posted: March 7, 2016

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Gifts in an Indian wedding are exciting. But what if you can direct the money that might be spent for a worthy cause? Check out Milaap.

Receiving gifts at a wedding is exciting. But weddings are also about positivity and good thoughts, right?

So when we got engaged, we decided that our whole wedding should be as made meaningful as possible. And that the ‘gifts’ we get should mean something. The first step we took towards it is to start a wedding fundraiser and encourage our friends and family to donate for a cause we care about in lieu of gifts. I personally know many couples who are looking for such options so maybe this will help you get some ideas.

What are we doing? and Why?

We are raising funds to help 200 children get quality supplementary education through Bhumi. The beneficiaries of this fundraiser would be children from three homes in Chennai, India who will receive English, Math, Science and Computer Science supplementary programme through Bhumi.

We chose education because one thing that brought us (Raghav and myself) together were the thoughts of bringing about a change in the thought process of  society in any way we can. And we believe quality education to be one of the major sources to bring about this change .

What is Bhumi?

Bhumi is one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organisations. Bhumi as a platform will enable over 12,000 volunteers in more than 12 cities across India for causes like education, environment, animal welfare, and community welfare.

Geographical Presence: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telengana, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi NCR.

Bhumi has two core areas of work – Education and Civic Projects.

I was a volunteer with Bhumi’s Kanini program, which teaches under-privileged children basics of computers from 2008 – 2012. Though I’m based in the US now, I have always kept in touch and followed their initiatives. They are one of the fastest growing volunteer-based organization in India. Working with their founders Vaishnavi Srinivasan and Prahalathan Karunakaran is an absolute delight.

How are we fundraising?

We are raising funds by creating a campaign on Milaap. This is an online fund-raising platform that enables Indians, non-Indians and non-resident Indians (NRIs) to make loans or to raise for a cause in India. One of my cousins had done this previously and that helped me get credible information about the same. We chose to go this route because the donations are transparent online and also our well-wishers from all over the world can donate easily through this platform. Also, we had many donors unknown to us who had come across our site and extended support.

How does it work?

You can create your  campaign/fundraiser on the Milaap site and choose to donate the funds to a cause/organization of your choice. You can also donate it to one of the projects that Milaap already have. A Milaap representative reaches out to you once you show interest and walks you through the process. It is very user-friendly and the whole team is great.

Once the funds are raised, you can transfer it to the beneficiary (in our case Bhumi) directly. They do charge a small percentage as compensation when a donation is made to an outside organization but I personally found it worth for the services provided.

My personal experience and testimonial

I had gone through many ideas and options before we chose this. I find this to be a great way to fundraise just because of the ease of donating especially if you have donors from outside India. The website helps you get credibility since the donations made are transparent and link is easy to share on social media.

So other ideas we thought about were:

  • donating all cheques you get to an organization of your choice directly without a platform.
  • providing with multiple options to your guests to donate rather than narrow it down to just one.
  • buy return gifts from a non-profit organization who help a cause with their sales.
  • broaden your charity by buying wedding-related things from local artisans and help them get the profits like potters, florists, small scale farmers, women’s self-help, weavers etc.
  • be civic responsible by reducing food waste, recycle and reduce use of plastic etc during the course of the wedding.

I encourage anyone who is thinking of declining gifts to strongly donate/fund-raise for a cause instead since that would help a donor and the beneficiary. Please feel free to email me if you would have any questions or simply want to discuss at jananiviswanathan09@gmail.com.

Image source: Janani Viswanathan.

In my mid-twenties , a safety specialist by profession in US. A free thinker, equalist

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Comments

1 Comment


  1. I really appreciate what you are doing. I had tried to convince my parents and in-laws to have one reception party and donate the rest of the money to some orphanage or old age home, but no one agreed. They had to show their face in the society! And I had to bow down to the pressure of my parents and others. I really wish I could have done what you are doing.

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