The Good Registry: because giving can be better

Chief of Good Christine Langdon

When Kim and I got married and we did the gift registry it was the most boring afternoon of my life. I walked around Kirks (RIP) for hours while she chose things. Then I walked around Moore Wilsons while she chose things. The wedding registry was not for me. But at the end of it all we got some cool shit from people. But if I was to do it all over again I think I’d look at alternatives to a wedding registry.

I don’t mean one of those “please gives us your money because this wedding shit is expensive”, that’s not our MO, totally cool if it’s yours. Just not ours. But some former colleagues/friends have set up The Good Registry, a social enterprise where people pledge to give up their gifts for a birthday, Christmas, wedding or other big event, and to ask friends and family for donations to charities instead. They’ve launched a crowd-funding campaign to get it going and frankly you should go and give if you can afford to.

Not to brag, but I gave. But I wasn’t alone. In the first 24 hours they were online, more than 30 people  pledged more than $3000 for The Good Registry’s PledgeMe campaign.

I’ve never made $3000 in 24 hours. Because my ideas aren’t as good as this.

I love giving gifts to people. It’s one of life’s joys. There’s even science to support the joy of giving, but man the world is filling up with crap we don’t need that we then awkwardly have to put on TradeMe and hope the family member who gave us that revolting tea-towel collection doesn’t notice. The amazing three founders of The Good Registry have come up with a better solution.

Giving is firmly part of our culture around celebrations and milestone events: birthdays, Christmas, housewarmings, weddings, anniversaries, bar and bat mitzvahs, the list goes on. I’ve heard that people give at baby showers but obviously we wouldn’t know (BLACK HUMOUR).

Christine Langdon, who is both wonderful and also the amazingly titled Chief of Good told me that the idea originated when it occurred to her that life needs celebration but when it comes to gifts, we’re not always good at giving each other things we need.

Often that’s because we don’t really ‘need’ anything. Yet, no-one can ignore that there is vast unmet need around us. The Good Registry is about closing that gap.

Consider the good that we could do it we redirected just 1% of the billions of dollars New Zealanders spend on gifts each year to charitable causes.

As well as helping good causes, the enterprise is also about helping all of us, by simplifying giving: taking out the birthday guesswork, the wedding double-ups, and the stressful last minute shopping on Christmas Eve. And fuck me that’s hard. Kim’s birthday is just 5 weeks after Christmas. How the hell am I supposed to think of TWO ideas in that short a period of time?

And there’s a third big benefit too: reducing waste – all of the packaging that gifts come in, all the wrapping paper and tape, and all the broken plastic toys and unwanted items that end up in our landfill. I didn’t work for the Greens just because I liked the colour green (though I do quite like the colour green).

It’s important to celebrate the special events in our lives, and giving has always been a big part of that. The Good Registry will give people a simple way to pay forward the giving to multiply the celebration and the good.

They’re still looking for NZ’s first mayor and NZ’s first MP to pledge their Christmas, and for NZ’s first wedding pledge. And, of course, for more pledges from people ordinary folk like us.

To find out more about The Good Registry, check out their crowd-funding page at pledgeme.co.nz/5403.

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