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Review: One Green Balloon

May 26, 2010

A few weeks ago we celebrated my darling husband’s 31st birthday with some great friends in a great Irish pub, and we had a great time. Like at my birthday a serious cake was provided by excellent friends, only this time we rocked so hard that we broke the cake. No really.

I was approached by Jodie at One Green Balloon a couple of weeks before Topher’s big B-Day for a review of her site. I checked it out; the timing was good and I was in love with her concept.

At One Green Balloon the party planner (in this case, moi) is able to create guest lists, electronic invites and thank you notes all on one site and all in a few minutes. It was the easiest “party planning” I’ve done in a long time, the site did everything for me but call the pub and make our reservation (Uh, Jodie… can you do that? Because baby birthday party planning makes me crazy and that’s my next gig.).

But the best part? One Green Balloon isn’t just about helping you plan your party; it’s about making a difference. I know I know that sounds so hokey but it’s true! Oh, shut up it’s not my fault you’re all jaded!

“Instead of the conventional party where one would bring a wrapped gift and greeting card, guests will simply RSVP to an e-mailed invitation and give a gift online. These secure online contributions are accumulated and subsequently divided between a worthy charity, and the purchase of one special gift, or you can choose to donate your entire gift to charity. It’s up to you.”

What I loved about One Green Balloon was how easy it made it for us to give. From the initial setup of the event, to adding attendees, to receiving our check, every step was easy. In fact, the hardest part was choosing our charity! The site offers you a group to choose from in both the US and Canada and I can assure you that Jodie is adding more all the time, because there were some listed yesterday that weren’t there when I set up our party, so I guess that part’s only going to get harder.

We were fortunate that our friends donated a modest amount for Topher’s laptop fund (it’s coming today and I don’t think he slept last night) which we split 50/50 with the charity that we chose, in this case Feeding America’s Hungry Children. Feeding America’s Hungry Children is an organization which provides food to children in food insecure households, including fresh produce. Given our efforts to eat more healthfully in general and specifically our growing enthusiasm for gardening and producing our own food, it seemed like a great fit for us.

So, my overall impression of the service?

Pros: It’s easy to set up your guest list, edit and send invitations, choose your charity and get your check. You’re also able to set up an automated reminder email for your guests. You can give more than 50/50 split if you want, or even give all of the money to your charity. And if you and/or your guests end up donating more than $25 you get the tax deduction as well!

Cons: I do wish it sent you an email notification when your guests responded, but I’m lazy and kept forgetting to check the responses so maybe that’s just me. Also I can see how with a large party this could get annoying really fast so in that respect, I totally get why it’s not a feature.

Overall I’d recommend the site and use it again in the future, especially for an event centered around a philanthropic individual or a party for a young child as a “teaching moment”. Last year after Piper’s birthday we ended up with about a half dozen duplicate gifts, with no way to return them. Some we gave to charity and some we held on to for spare parts. With P’s birthday and Christmas being so close together it’s probably not a problem that we’re going to outgrow anytime soon. I really like the idea of promoting charitable giving at an early age, and this site is one I hope to use in the future to teach our daughter how we provide for those less fortunate than ourselves.

Because we’re very fortunate.

Disclosure: In exchange for this review Jodie waived the standard 15% administration fee for my party. Trust me, this was not a lot of money. Our friends aren’t rich, but they’re definitely fun!

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 4:16 pm

    Oh No! What happened to that poor cake?!? Also, cool idea for “non-milestone” adult birthday. 🙂

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