FRANKLIN TWP. — Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge rolled out a new program to encourage soon-to-be-married couples to donate to the shelter on their wedding day.
The program called “I Do Blue” taps into a growing national trend where couples donate to charity instead of investing in favors for guests, said Alyssa Zekoski, marketing communications manager at Ideaworks Marketing.
“Seven out of 10 brides do not buy mints for favors anymore,” said Cordie Braun, fundraising director at the refuge.
Braun reached out to Ideaworks Marketing in Wyoming for other fundraising options.
“When Cordelia reached out to us about exploring new avenues for growth, we knew that we needed to reach a new target audience and unveil something memorable,” Zekoski said in an email news release.
The result is a tiered program giving couples a choice to donate to a local charity.
“I Do Blue” allows couples to choose from three different packages that range from $150 to $500.
The first package is called “Something Blue Chip,” costs $150 and provides an 11-by-17-inch easel to display at the reception, showing the couple’s financial commitment to the Franklin Township no-kill shelter.
Also, digital customized “table tents” will be provided. The tents are folded cards with the couple’s name on one side and information about their donation to Blue Chip on the back, Zekoski said.
The second package, called “Wedded Bliss” at the cost of $300, gives the couple the easel, table tents and personalized thank-you cards.
The third package called “Blue for 2” costs $500 and offers the easel, table tents, personalized thank-you cards and two customized bricks for Blue Chip’s Legacy of Love wall.
The Legacy of Love wall is a memory wall comprised of customized engraved bricks that rolled out last fall.
The couple keeps one brick and the second is mounted on the wall at Blue Chip’s facility.
“Couples can customize their ‘I Do Blue’ packages to fit their budgets,” Zekoski said.
Blue Chip and Ideaworks Marketing launched the “I Do Blue” program during the Northeast Bridal Show at the Radisson Lackawanna Station in Scranton in September.
“Many brides did not expect to see Blue Chip at a bridal show,” Zekoski said.
“We had 50 brides-to-be sign up,” Braun said. “We are pretty excited.”
Blue Chip will also be at the Northeast Bridal Expo Oct. 15 at Best Western Plus Genetti Hotel & Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre.
Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge, opened in 1996 by Marge Bart, is operated by volunteers and donations.
On average, the shelter spends $250,000 in veterinary bills and other expenses that include utilities, phone and internet, Braun said.
In 2016, Blue Chip placed 1,000 animals in forever homes, Braun said.
“There were 609 dogs, 235 cats and kittens, and 35 bunnies who found homes last year,” she said.
This year, the shelter will surpass year’s numbers, Braun said.
“We are reaching close to 1,200 animals (that found homes) this year,” she said. “We could definitely use some extra funds.”