We’re extremely grateful to all those who provide their ideas, time, support and donations to The Neonatal Trust.
A consistent theme we encounter in our work is the very special people who choose to get involved. From those who give their time and support to the care of neonatal babies, the families themselves who go above and beyond for others, and the social profit space in general.
We’re highlighting some of these wonderful people with interview pieces. Learn more about the wonderful Christine Langdon who set up The Good Registry, who are on a mission to reduce waste and create more goodness – and who are supporting The Neonatal Trust.
1. Tell us about your journey before starting The Good Registry
I started my working life in journalism (at 18) and did that for more than 15 years. It exposed me to all walks of life, which is what I loved about it and why I stayed with it for so long. But as I started to move away from frontline reporting and into newsroom management, journalism started to lose its shine for me. I switched into communications and was drawn to work where I felt that I could make a difference — Child, Youth and Family, The Red Cross, and then consultancy work where I had the chance to work on some social good campaigns such as Family Violence, It’s Not OK. I’ve always been looking for a bit more depth in how I could contribute, so was very fortunate to find my way to Z Energy and a role as their Community Manager. I also did some different types of volunteering, including teach-ing yoga in Arohata Prison. I realised the volunteering was the thing I looked forward to the most every week, so why not leave work and try to create more of that kind of goodness. A few months later, I’d come up with the idea for The Good Registry, and had two co-founders, Sue McCabe and Tracey Bridges, working alongside me to make it happen.
2. How did you come up with the idea of The Good Registry
I’d spent some time getting really clear on my values and what mattered to me and that highlighted the link I see between happiness and contribution to others. So I wanted to amp up my own contribution, and create an easy way for others to give and experience the joy of giving too. I was very con-scious that many of us have a sense of being ‘busy’ and ‘cash-strapped’ and that as much as we’d like to contribute more, these two things could get in the way. So whatever I created needed to be something that people could incorporate into something they already do — like gift-giving — and it ideally had to be cost neutral and really simple.
3. What do you know now, that you wished you knew back at the start of The Good Registry journey?
I wish I’d fully understood how complex gift giving is! It’s so deeply en-grained in our culture, which means that there is a huge opportunity for us (it’s something that almost everyone does regularly through the year) but that’s also a huge challenge because people get nervous about doing something that feels different to the cultural norm. But we also know that people are increasingly wanting to use less and waste less, and that a lot of people feel very uncomfortable about the amount of waste in gift giving – so that’s a big opportunity. And we’re not asking people to stop giving gifts altogether. We’re just encouraging people to rethink and replace one or two unnecessary gifts each year. If every New Zealander replaced one $10 gift a year with a donation through The Good Registry (e.g with one of our Good Gift Cards), that would be $47 million of goodness!
4. If such a thing as a ‘typical week’ existed, what would be on your list of things to do?
At the moment it’s lots of meetings and conversations with people in business, so that we can encourage more businesses to rethink their gift giv-ing. There are businesses that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on gifts and often those gifts aren’t well targeted. They often end up being things that people don’t really want or need, so we think there is a huge opportunity for businesses to use that money to help causes that their people care about instead. I also spend quite a bit of time liaising with our givers and our charities, creating content and sharing what we are do-ing on social media, to spread the word about the good we are doing and encourage people to be involved. And then there is all the day to day stuff that keeps the ‘business running’ and sets us up to grow. For example, over the past month or two I’ve been putting a lot of time into doing re-search, reviewing that research and using it to shape our future direction.
5. What’s the best thing about your job?
I absolutely believe that joy and contribution are intrinsically linked. So the best thing has to be that my role is 100 per cent about contribution, and I’m helping others contribute as well. I also feel privileged to be working with two wonderful co-founders (Tracey Bridges and Sue McCabe) who care as much about making a positive difference as I do. And every day reaf-firms for me how many good people there are who also want to make a positive difference, and are – all of the charities we work with, all of our giv-ers, and all of the individuals and organisations that are helping us directly and indirectly.
6. Outside of The Good Registry, what keeps you busy?
Given we’re a start-up, The Good Registry takes a lot of my time right now! But I have always been active so I make sure I get in a run, cycle or kayak every day. I also have a regular yoga practice and a blog (mykinderlife.org). And I’m committed to having quality time each week with the people who matter in my life and who keep me grounded.
7. What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I still love gifts! I like to give gifts when I know that what I am giving is mean-ingful and needed, and I love to receive gifts if they are things that I truly love and need. The Good Registry isn’t anti-gifts — we just want to make sure every gift counts, and give people a way to pay the giving forward when that feels like the right thing to do.
8. What does the future of The Good Registry look like? What’s the vision?
Our vision is a world where every gift counts. Where people are thinking differently about why they give and what they are giving, and where more people have the opportunity to experience the joy of less unwanted stuff and more generosity in their lives.
9. How do people actually ‘pay forward’ the giving at The Good Registry?
The Good Registry has two simple ways to give. You can:
- Create your own Good Gift Registry for a special event (e.g. a wed-ding, a child’s birthday, a milestone birthday) and ask friends to donate to a charity you choose, instead of buying gifts
- Give Good Gift Cards instead of traditional gifts, to enable others to make donations to charities that they care about.
In both cases, the person receiving the ‘gift’ chooses the charity that they want the donations to go to.
To learn more about how Christine is transforming giving, and be a part of it, head to thegoodregistry.com
In order to meet our goals of delivering enhanced support to more families, it’s fabulous to have different options available for people to help families in need – in a way that suits their situation. The Neonatal Trust is privileged to be one of the initial Partner Charities of The Good Registry. We already have families supporting through events such as birthdays, eg, think “In lieu of presents, we would like you to consider donating to The Neonatal Trust”. The Good Registry provides a platform to make this easier for supporters and reduce the administration for charities!
For details, check out: