I recently got an email from my cousin inviting my children to her 8-year-old son’s birthday party. Unlike the normal evite that regularly shows up in my inbox, this email was from a company called ECHOage, “a charity-driven, eco-friendly, online birthday party service where children learn the value of giving and receiving while celebrating.”
ECHOage allows the host to choose an invitation and select a charity from a list of US and Canadian charities ranging from Reading is Fundamental, WWF to Healthy Child Healthy World. The host sends out the email invitation with the following message:
“My ECHOage birthday party is a giving celebration for everyone! Instead of bringing a wrapped and packaged present, we invite you to RSVP and give a secure online gift. Half of your contribution will go toward the purchase of a gift I've been dreaming of, and the other half will go toward the charity I have chosen…”
How It Works:
ECHOage keeps track of who is coming to the party and the money that is collected. After the party, ECHOage sends half the money to the charity of choice and the host receives an official tax receipt. The other half of the money is sent to the birthday child to pick one dream present.
I am going to the party this weekend so I can report back on how it goes. But it seems like the perfect way to make a child’s birthday both fun and meaningful in a bigger way. I am happy because I don’t have to go to a toy store and wander the aisles wondering what to get for my cousin. And the environment is happy because we’re skipping tons of extra packaging and wrapping paper and a potentially unwanted gift. Seems like a win-win.
Francesca Olivieri is co-founder of sage baby, an online eco-friendly baby store offering everything from organic clothes and skin care to furniture. She also runs a green consulting business; blogs for The Family Groove and Scenic Hudson; and contributes to Daily Candy Kids, YogaCity, Citiscoop, and NRDC’s Simple Steps. Please visit her website at FrancescaOlivieri.com.