From the category archives:

thank you

And the answer is…

by Inlu Blog Patrol on September 17, 2012



So I’m talking to someone about Inlu and prepare for the frequently asked question: “What is Inlu in five words or less.”

Sure we have a tagline:  “Group giving for a happier planet.”  And a true line (our internal mantra): “Every Inlu makes a difference.”  But these seem to make more sense when you already know what Inlu is.  I’m not a great writer, and I find this 5-word challenge to be very difficult.

The person I’m speaking with just had a baby.
I just had a baby… going on 15 years ago.

I started thinking about the difference in our lives… and that is when I figured it out.
The answer to Inlu is 294.

(Yes. I am also a fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams for those of you being hit with a sense of familiarity.)

294.  Why?
For all of you who have just had that first little bundle of love enter your life… get ready to give.

You’ll give more LOVE than you ever knew you had.  You’ll give more TIME inside 24 hours than you ever thought possible.  And… you’ll give MONEY more frequently than any high powered budget forecaster will ever predict for you.  In fact, add another child or 2 to your family, and you’ll be amazed.

We estimate that in the next 15 years you’ll…

- give for 108 children’s birthday gifts (in addition to giving to your own kids)

- give to over 84 school related needs

- give for 21 teacher thank yous

- and probably just as many coaches & team related needs (21)

- you’ll help welcome 15 babies

- you’ll see 10 brides sparkle

- and you might help say goodbye to 5 people

- perhaps at least 5 times you’ll be the one friend someone will count on to help them celebrate something significant: be it a big birthday, a promotion, a move, a first marathon

- you might need to comfort 5 friends who’s paths haven’t gone quite as planned

- you might see 5 friends experience unexpected medical issues that need support

- but you’ll also see friends – and even their kids – working to bring dreams to life… either to support a cause they care about (let’s say 5 times)…

- or start their own non-profit to save the world in their own special way (5)

- and even see friends go for the impossible, by starting their own business (another 5).

When you put this all together… it brings you to 294 times across 15 years that you will want and need to give toward something special.

Since we went live three years ago, we have seen people use Inlu for all of these reasons… and more, to make the giving easier as a group.  To give what’s truly wanted and needed, while streamlining the process,  so instead they can focus on their own magical, human story as it unfolds.

So, when someone asks YOU what Inlu is… Just say “294.  Check it out…

Thank you.


P.S.  Happy 3rd Birthday Inlu.  I’m so glad you’re part of my human story.


25 Fabulous Group Gift Collections from REAL Inlu Users

by inlu blog patrol on October 27, 2011

how inlu works

If you have used Inlu to collect for any gift, any charity or both, you know there are endless ideas out there. So many great gifts can be given by simplifying and streamlining the process! If you’ve never used Inlu but have wondered, what the heck are people collecting for ?, here’s a fabulous list of gifts and collections that will inspire you to collect for something awesome: something your friends, family members or yes, even you’d really love.

1. First House Deposit

2. iPad

3. Skateboard

4. Dollhouse

5. Legos

6. Design Your Own Converse

7. Tech Pen

8. Spa Treatments

9. Airplane Tickets

10. Camera Lenses

11. Bulk purchases

12. Tap Shoes and Tap Dance Lessons

13. Vespa Riding Outfit

14. Flowers

15. Wheelchair ramp

16. Medical Assistance Funds

17. The Beatles Video Game

18. Broadway Play Tickets

19. A Day At The Mac Store (gift certificate)

20. An Olympic Hopeful’s Training Fund

21. Fish Aquarium

22. A New Business Start Up Fund

23. Travel Funds for a Middle School National Championship Game

24. Drumset (and Headphones!)

25. Double Strollers and Infant Car Seats

Want to try it?


As our loyal friends, fans and fabulous peeps, we’d love to offer you a special WE INLU sticker for your car, computer or wherever you’d like. Simply email us with your name and address and we’ll get one in the mail.

YOU are the best and we love you.

email us at:


30 Gifts to 30 Strangers (In Lieu of Receiving, Celebrate Giving!)

by inlu blog patrol on September 26, 2011

At Inlu, we spend a lot of time focusing on the joy of group giving- the art of many people pitching in for something special, a group donation (or both). We focus on the rewarding, empowering feeling of creating less excess, hassle and wasted resources (like trees and shipping and all that jazz). We love the social companionship that comes from collaboration.

What I’d like to call out today is that fabulous feeling of giving (even if it’s your day to be receiving!).

When I saw this clip, I became absorbed in the enlightened sentiment: that giving is bliss.

Sometimes we focus way too much on what is ours, what is owed to us and what we “own” in this world.

This video was put together by Lucas Jatoba (and a group of friends so it had that collaborative excitement), a Brazilian living in Australia. This year, he wanted to do something different to show his appreciation for Sydney, a city he had grown to love. Here, he let the universe lead, which is something we should all try more often (I know I need to!).

Imagine doing this on your next birthday! You could use Inlu to collect funds to go out and give 21, 30, 45…whatever your next number… handmade, local or organic treats to complete strangers.You could deliver 30 baby blankets to a shelter. You could walk into a youth center and deliver 30 basketballs, jump ropes and dodgeballs. Whatever!

(And, yes, they used wrapping paper but that doesn’t mean this tradition couldn’t be tweaked to lessen the landfill and expand the love! Just one more twist of creativity in the wrapping department and this would be pure joy for people and the planet).

If I had seen this before my birthday last week, perhaps I would have given out 30 random Daisies, Lake Champlain Chocolates and Starbucks Coffee Gift Certificates to 30 Strangers (because yeah, I totally just turned 30). VIEW MY SAMPLE INSPIRED BY ’30 Gifts to 30 Strangers’

What twist on the gift giving tradition can YOU come up with?

Collect for something, give back. Tip o’ the hat to the gifting hero in Australia!

30 Gift Guy!

PS If you’d like to know the gifts he handed out, here they are: (Follow him on twitter or check out his website for lots more on the experience:

The gifts: a Wallabies rugby ball, 30 minute massage voucher, a painting, a skateboard, a scarf, “the doggy bank”, chocolates, bottle of champagne, a teddy bear, a mini tree to hang pictures, a Japanese porcelain tea jar, mini garden tools for kids, scented oil infuser for the home, iTunes music voucher, mini boxer shorts for a new born baby, origami book, “happyland village vet” (toy for a kid), scented soaps and candles, illustrated photo album, a big soft penguin, aromatic moisturizers and shampoos, books, dvds, other toys for kids and more!


Hey Massachusetts users! Did you know about the MA State Ethics Commission New Exemption Regarding Teacher Gifts? Check this out…

According to The Official Website of the State Ethics Commission:

“A teacher may accept a gift, or several gifts during the school year, from public school students and/or their parents and guardians, with an aggregated value of up to $150, if the gift is identified only as being from the class, and the identity of the givers and the individual amounts given are not identified to the recipient.  Gifts received pursuant to this exemption are not required to be disclosed. The donor is unknown, so a reasonable person would not conclude that the gift would influence the teacher’s conduct with regard to any individual or would cause the teacher to favor any individual.”

Inlu is a great solution for this in so many ways. If you have questions, watch the video or Email questions to Inlu President (and Former PTO President of a Vermont Elementary School):  monica(dot)ostby(at) Want a few teacher gift ideas? Click here.


15 Group Gift Ideas for Teacher Appreciation

by inlu blog patrol on March 30, 2011

Spring is here (almost?) and summer vacation is just around the muddy corner. As the bulbs burst and the buds open, it’s about time to start thinking teacher appreciation gifts. We know teachers are unique and wonderful, so, in lieu of mugs and apple covered stationary, why not collect as a group and give something she or he will totally enjoy. Here are some great ideas:

1. Curriculum-Related Gift: Select a topic your child’s class studied (a culture, a species, etc). Create an Inlu to support a non-profit organization relating to that topic (education support in that culture, etc) and find a nice ‘coffee table’ book also relating that the teacher can choose to either have at home, or use if future years in class.

2. Park Bench: For about $200 you can buy a nice park bench at places like Lowe’s, and for about $20 or less have a small plaque inscribed with a dedication message. Teachers (with permission from the school) can keep their bench in the playground or even in their classroom. How to do this, you ask? Simply create a GIFT Inlu. Direct the funds to go to a parent who is willing to purchase the bench in advance to make sure there is one in stock! You can also add a charity and set a GIFT CAP to ensure that only the amount needed for the bench and plaque is collected.

3. Summer Barbecue Package: Specialty meat shops (like The Shelburne Meat Market, in Shelburne, VT) offer amazing – but rather pricey barbecue deliciousness. A group gift certificate can give your favorite teacher and his/her family a wonderful summertime treat! This of course can be a limitless GIFT collection. Or you can set a GIFT CAP and add a charity too.

4. Car Detailing: Do you live in a snowy climate? A good spring/summer car cleaning is such a treat! It generally costs at least $100 for a through detail. Add a charity – perhaps one that helps those in need get the transportation they need to get to work. (Check out the Good News Garage as an example)

5. Gardner’s Delight Package: A gift certificate to a gardening shop is perfect for summer! (Check out Gardener’s Supply)

6. Local Farmer’s Market: Many local Farmer’s Markets sell gift certificates that can be used through out the summer – yum! A great way to support local farmers and crafts people. And hey, your kid’s may run into their teachers there. (Yes teachers do grocery shop too!)

7. Farm Share: Its not cheap to buy a summer share from a farm crop – but if you divide the cost among students families, voila! Plus, it’s delicious.

8. Local Theater Gift Certificate: Whether its for a year’s worth of movies, or a theatrical performance, the gift of art is always appreciated.

9. Dinner at an Upscale Restaurant: Fancy, specialty restaurants can be quite pricey. Pitching in together allows your child’s teacher to have room for dessert (and wine perhaps, but we’ll never know:).

10. Books for Teacher & Community: A gift certificate to a bookstore (either online or a local shop) for teacher + a donation to a book related non-profit to help children around the world is very special. Check out Reading.Org

11. Spa Day!!! Enough said. (Aaaahhhhh)

12. Personal Trainer: The gift of health & wellness can go a long way.

13. Health Club Boost: If you know that your child’s teacher goes to a certain gym, tennis club, golf club, yoga studio, look into buying a gift certificate they can either use to supplement their membership or use in the gift shop, for a day with a pro, or the snack bar. Keeping our teachers healthy helps us all!

14. Day of Shopping: Support a local business with a gift certificate to a favorite clothing boutique.

15. Credit Gift Card to do whatever they want! Credit gift cards can be used for home improvements, travel expenses, you name it! Check out to make a personalized Visa/Mastercard.

Inlu makes it easy to group gift something special for your child’s teacher. Oh, and did we mention how easy it is for the parents to pitch in? It’s super easy. Try it!

(We’re here to help if you have questions, comments or thoughts.) See exactly why Inlu LOVES schools, here.


Winter Dreaming: 11 Idyllic Inlu Group Gifts

January 25, 2011

Well, it’s a tad cold up in the Northeast. And I’m kind of over the frozen fingers and ice blocked toes. I’m inside, wearing a beanie, a scarf and a sweater. It’s not my favorite time of year. It’s not really anyone’s idea of a good time to watch the temps drop to well below [...]

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Featured Inlu: BTV Skate Park- Buy a Brick!

December 15, 2010

Hey friends! Guess what cool Inlu collection is going on right now? The “Buy a Brick and Support the Skate Park” campaign just launched as part of the Burlington Skate Park Redevelopment Project. This much anticipated, NEW concrete park will attract skaters from all around the region. Anyone is welcome to contribute and no amount [...]

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In lieu of hassle, quickly collect for a coach gift!

October 14, 2010

.It’s the end of the fall sports season, coach has been there all the way. You want to get him or her something super but you’ll have to rally contributions from 20-30 parents. Ok, well, that’s gonna be kind of a hassle. Everyone’s running to & fro and stopping at the ATM for $8 is [...]

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Say What? Happy ONE-YEAR Anniversary!

September 15, 2010

What a great year! We’d like to take a moment to virtually bust out the megahorn and thank everyone and anyone (including our kids and pets) who supported the Inlu vision. THANK YOU! As a small start-up team, we honestly wish we could: Give a thumbs-up to the trailblazers who coordinated an event or collection. [...]

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