Mingling with mochas in hand, a new crowd of morally conscious singles took over The Works Café in Portland last month as the curiously named “Get Social, Give Goats” event got under way. What could goats, coffee, and eligible bachelors possibly have in common? A lot more than you think, according to Josh and April LaFrance.
This happily married couple found themselves time and time again at a loss when their single friends came to them for advice on where to find a date. After failed attempts at playing matchmaker and numerous tales of unpleasant blind date encounters, April decided to take matters into her own hands. Looking at the growing philanthropic trend in many new companies like TOMS Shoes, she didn’t see why the same ideas couldn’t be applied to dating services. And from there, the concept of “ethical speed-dating” was born.
The idea is simple; pick a venue for singles to meet in a speed-dating environment with the proceeds going to charity. Each event is posted on their website, www.weclickdating.com, with the particular charity listed and a guest list to reserve a spot. Unlike other dating services, the philanthropic aspect to WeClick Dating lessens the skepticism around speed-dating. April believes that with the decrease in stigma associated with planned dating, tying in fundraising will make it all the more appealing. If nothing else, singles can feel good about helping a worthy cause while trying to find love- although WeClick does have a customer guarantee that if you don’t find someone that night, the next event is on them.
Each event is set up in typical speed-dating form. The women sit at different tables while the men cycle through, spending five minutes with each person. At the end of the night, each single fills out a WeClick card saying which individuals they would like to get to know more. WeClick collects the cards and sends mutual matches contact information so that people can arrange a next date. There is a $30 registration fee for each event with 10% going to charity. Organizations like Heifer International, for which the “Get Social, Give Goats” event was aptly named, are chosen for each event to raise both awareness and money. WeClick is based in Portland, Oregon where Josh and April live now, but similar ideas have been catching on in both Nashville and Pittsburg. The LaFrances hope to bring the business down the coast when they move to Redding, California later this year.
Although the company is not highly profitable yet, the LaFrances have high hopes for the future. The main purpose, however, is not on the money but the message that anyone can create positive change.
by Lauren Partain