Pledging her birthday to Garden to Table was a “no-brainer” for Sarah Macdonald. And more than a week after her birthday she’s still brimming with joy.
Sarah was introduced to The Good Registry through volunteering. She volunteered her photography skills to help us share the stories of our charities, and after photographing Garden to Table she was won over.
Sarah said she’d been thinking about giving her birthday through The Good Registry, because she has everything she needs and is constantly trying to declutter — and these days she prefers experiences over gifts.
Then when she spent a morning photographing Garden to Table at Greenacres School recently, she was blown away by the difference the charity makes for children — and was immediately sold on where she wanted her birthday dollars to go.
“I knew that Garden to Table would benefit from and appreciate the money and I knew the tangible things that it was going to help with. I knew the money wasn’t going to go to waste.”
A bit over a week after her birthday, Sarah has so much Good to say about the experience. So, in Sarah’s words, here’s whats so Good about The Good Registry…
- It’s so easy. “The biggest thing that blew me away was how easy it was. It would be hands down the easiest way I have ever fundraised. I am so proud and happy that my friends and family donated $560 within about a week, and when I reflect on it I think that if I was trying to do fundraising for a charity in a traditional sense it would have been much more challenging to raise that amount of money in a week. The week of my birthday I was quite busy with some awesome work projects, and was also away for a couple of days, so outside of work that week I didn’t really have as much time or energy to fundraise. I did four social media posts about it and I talked to my friends and family when I saw them but it wasn’t like I was selling it — they genuinely wanted to give. I also thought it was really great how The Good Registry sent an email to me about how to promote the event. When you are busy that can be hard, and the letter gave me some prompts about what to do.”
- It’s a collective effort. “One thing I absolutely love about The Good Registry — and I’ve never seen this before with any other charity fundraising — is that people were donating to me and to Garden to Table, and leaving really lovely messages for me, but you never see how much they are giving, and I think that is really important because it makes people feel that they collectively gave that money. So it wasn’t a competition between people — it’s not about the dollar value, so giving $5 is as good as giving $50 because in the end it is the collective amount. I really connected with that and I feel that helped people give because there wasn’t that pressure.”
- It’s the thought that counts. “Another thing that amazed me is that all the messages people left were way more meaningful and really from the heart compared to generic Facebook birthday messages that they might have posted usually. I just kept re-reading all those lovely messages and it truly was so nice. My sister’s cat even left me a message! I have so much respect for the amazing friends and family that I have, that they have donated all that money and so willingly, and for all their lovely messages.”
- It feels great. “I felt genuinely happy that I could give Garden to Table that money purely by having a birthday. When I think about past birthdays, of course I would appreciate the presents at the time, but you don’t get that excitement and fulfilment after a birthday and gifts that you do from The Good Registry. This was such a special experience and even a week later I’m just so happy about it.”
- It gives back to friends and family too. “I know that my friends and family who donated felt really good about giving so its really nice to know that it gave them an opportunity to donate to a cause that now they are now interested in. If you just look at the messages people left, they were all really positive. I asked a few people how they felt giving to the charity versus buying a present and they said that they genuinely liked giving that rather than a present, and they knew that it was for good. I even had a cousin from Australia contact me asking for my registry link, after hearing about it. Just so many people going out of their way to donate — the energy surrounding it was wonderful. I hope it inspires more people to set one up for their birthday!”
Getting up close with our partner charities
Sarah was introduced to The Good Registry after leaving her job in late 2017 and looking for volunteering opportunities to give her experience in the not-for-profit sector, meet inspiring people and find ways to give back by helping organisations with their story-telling.
She’d worked in sales, marketing and photography in the home decor industry, and decided it was time to shift gear and do work that felt more meaningful and aligned with her values.
“I wanted to help people and I wanted to do that through photography and marketing for organisations that I really believed in.”
Luckily for The Good Registry that led her to us!
Sarah said she was excited to work for The Good Registry because she loved the concept and the Good it’s doing.
“It was very refreshing to me. It was a concept that I hadn’t really heard of before and I’m not a big fan of getting loads of presents so I liked that you could still celebrate your birthday or your wedding, but it is a bit more meaningful and it gives people an opportunity to do some good. It was like ‘wow, you could donate money to a charity simply by having a birthday!’ That is quite a powerful thing to think about.”
Sarah has so far done two photo essays for The Good Registry and our charity partners — first with Pomegranate Kitchen(which provides employment in a commercial kitchen and training for people from refugee backgrounds) and then Garden to Table.
“I really loved the opportunity to do long photo-shoots. It wasn’t just a matter of going in and snapping a few pictures for a story. It was about six hours for Pomegranate Kitchen and 2.5 hours for Garden to Table. And I wasn’t taking photos the whole time so I was part of the experience and I was meeting with and talking with people who were benefiting from The Good Registry. Charities like Pomegranate Kitchen and Garden to Table sound like such great charities but when you experience it first hand it is a much more powerful experience.”
Photographing Pomegranate Kitchen, Sarah was blown away by the enjoyment the cooks had for their work. “It was such a nice energy. I’ve heard lots of stories about how stressful kitchens are but Pomegranate Kitchen was a really calm space and the cooks were really enjoying it and laughing.”
And photographing Garden to Table, she was also struck by the joy. “I walked in and it was so full of action. I couldn’t believe how much the kids were enjoying it. I thought I knew what Garden to Table was about but it far exceeded my expectations. … Looking back I would have loved something like that when I was a kid. I love the fact there is no technology, it is very communal, and it fosters kindness and inclusion — which is really positive and really lovely.”
You can also create your own registry at The Good Registry here. Or you could give someone else the joy of giving with our Good Gift Cards, which can be redeemed to make donations to any of The Good Registry's 60 partner charities.