How do you throw your child a party that they’ll love, avoid an onslaught of, shall we say, less meaningful presents, make the party convenient for guests and teach your children about the important lesson of giving all at the same time?  

Very simple, ECHOage your party. 

There has been a trend in recent years of turning birthday parties into charitable events.  The invitation clearly states, “No presents please,” and instead guests are directed to donate to a designated charity in the child’s name or bring an item that will be delivered to a local organization. 

Teaching children about empathy and giving is such an important lesson. 

But you know what?  Celebrating the milestone of another year of life is just as important.  So ECHOage provides the perfect balance, offering an opportunity to equally celebrate the birthday child and support a deserving organization at the same time!

In just a few easy steps, a parent can organize such a party as follows:

Step 1: Choose an invitation –

By now parents are familiar with the e-invitation.  ECHOage has a nice design and many color combinations to choose from.  You enter in the details for your party and a lovely invitation is created and distributed via email.

Step 2: Choose your gift(s) and charity to support –

Here is the fun part for the kids, they get to create a special wish list of what they really want for their birthday.  An iPod?  A Bicycle?  A Computer?  Karate Lessons?  Anything that your child has been dreaming of and that you approve of (ponies are still not likely to make the cut here), can be listed as your child’s wish list.  Then it is time for the family to decide what organization you want to support. 

ECHOage already has a list of over 120 organization that they support, but any 501c3 organization can sign up to work with ECHOage.  That includes your child’s school, the local soup kitchen or any other organization in your town that you want to support! 

Step 3: Guests RSVP and contribute –

When guests RSVP to your e-invitation, they are given the choice of donating to your child’s wish list and the organization you are supporting.  Whatever they choose to donate is split evenly between the birthday child and organization. 

The simplicity of skipping the trip to the toy store and wrapping the present is a very nice feature for guests.  They will know that they are contributing to a gift that the birthday boy or girl will love and appreciate, and at the same time, providing a tax deductible donation to a deserving organization. 

No one wants to be a birthday scrooge, but most parents will admit that they’re tired of shopping for birthday presents for the many parties their children attend.  If we can spend a few minutes at the computer RSVPing and gift giving all in one step, we’ll take that over the alternative any day of the week.

For the hosting parents, the ECHOage e-invitation platform is so helpful, you’ll feel like you have a party coordinator helping you out with all the details.  Little additional features offered on ECHOage like the e-mail that reminds you to charge the camera, something we’ve all forgotten to do before a big event, is a huge help to parents. 

There is a printable guest list that includes parent cell numbers and food allergy information.  And there is even the reminder to send out those thank you notes!

Parents, the birthday child, the party guests and a deserving non-profit organization will all be thrilled with the way ECHOage turns a birthday party into a convenient and generous experience. 

There are so many benefits when you ECHOage your party – for everyone involved – but for you, the overworked, underappreciated, overscheduled parent, you get to pat yourself on the back for finding the perfect balance between fun and generosity for your child’s special birthday party! 

Debbie Zinman and Alison Smith, ECHOage Founders 

ECHOage was launched in 2008 after a chance discussion between Debbie and Alison at a birthday party pickup.  Debbie had been searching for ways to instill empathy and a sense of action in her kids.  While Alison, was searching for ways to make the experience of birthday parties in general more meaningful and less demanding. 

Simply stated, this mom was tired of spending every weekend shopping for birthday presents for her kids’ friends!  Their quest to make birthday parties more rewarding for the kids and less work for the parents became known as

Since launching in 2008, over one million dollars have been donated to deserving charities thanks to the giving families who have chosen to ECHOage their party.