Kate Glantz’s eight years spent working in international development introduced her to the needs of many nonprofits around the world; her experience as a wedding guest in the U.S. introduced her to the incredible combined purchasing power present at such an event.
“This is cheesy, but Heartful.ly really is a marriage [between those experiences],” she said.
Heartful.ly, a wedding registry for charitable giving, launched on Wednesday in D.C.
"There is this huge and amazing opportunity to really build a legacy alongside your marriage."
Essentially it works like this: Heartful.ly partners with nonprofits around the world and displays their projects, breaking the donation needs down into chunks similar to what you might see on a traditional wedding registry.
A couple can then browse projects in need. “If a couple is interested in, for example, education in sub-Saharan Africa, they might register to build a classroom,”Glantz said. “And then the gifts that their guests give them are the items in that budget — so bricks, cement, things like that. And those are donations, but we package them [on the site] as gifts.”
Heartful.ly encourages couples to view a Heartful.ly registry as an addition to the usual Crate & Barrel registry — get at KitchenAid and give back too.
“I really believe that the way marriage has evolved, you know, people marrying later and living together and already having a lot of what they need — there is this huge and amazing opportunity to really build a legacy alongside your marriage,” Glantz said.
And wedding guests don’t just buy a bunch of bricks and then hear nothing, either. Three months after the wedding, Heartful.ly sends an “impact update” to the givers and the couple. This update is, depending on the project, “a breakdown on men, women and children served, communities served, structures built, trainings conducted — we really break it down and show the impact of how that registry has made a difference.” The update also includes a thank you from the nonprofit or beneficiary and some photos.
Heartful.ly currently partners with 30 nonprofits. The first organizations were selected because Glantz was familiar with them from her time in international development, but since then the list has continued to grow. Glantz says the majority of new nonprofits come to Heartful.ly via referrals, but there is an application form on the site that organizations can fill out to be considered.
The company’s revenue model is a 9 percent service fee on each guest — a figure Glantz says is competitive with other fundraising platforms.
Heartful.ly was initially a product of (and the winner of) Startup Weekend 2014. Glantz has been bootstrapping the company to date — she’s the only full-time employee. She’s been working with Corey Speisman, however, as a part-time developer.
Launching the company now is no coincidence — “we’re officially in the midst of engagement season,” Glantz said. Glantz plans to focus on getting the platform up and running in D.C. in the next couple months, then hold an official launch party in February. From there the plan is expansion into new markets — though of course given that it is an online platform, Heartful.ly can be used by couples from all over the world at any juncture.
Glantz is looking beyond the wedding industry, too. “By the end of 2016 I will be expanding into other milestones. So birthdays, anniversaries, bar and bat mitzvahs, even funerals are on the table,” she said.
“I think we’re so conditioned to give around disasters or Christmas, but we’re not as often looking inward, kind of using our best moments as a way to help make good moments for others,” Glantz said. “The ultimate vision of where I want this to go is to really mainstream life milestone-based giving into the U.S.”-30-