Have you ever wondered how you can give back as you do your holiday shopping?
As the leaves start turning and pumpkin spice is all around, we find ourselves preparing for the holidays and thinking about the gifts we’ll give to those we care about. But we can do so much more for those we might not even know, and there are many effortless ways to help others during the holidays.
Whether it be shopping online or in stores, a lot of retailers offer ways for us to be charitable! Are you ready to give back this holiday season? Here are 9 simple ways to donate while shopping during the holidays:
#1: Give Back with Your Online Shopping
The simplest way to give back this holiday season is to figure out where you can shop charitably. While you could fire up Google and search any number of terms and hope for the best, there’s actually a charitable search engine waiting to help you out!
Charitable.shopping has an excellent shop finder to steer you towards merchants that support charities. The shop finder allows you to search by categories like clothing, electronics, food & drink, and even finance & insurance.
Use Amazon Smile This Holiday Season
You can also shop on Amazon and donate to charity! For every purchase you make, AmazonSmile will donate a portion of the sale to the charity of your choice. All you need to do is go to AmazonSmile and pick your organization! (Pro tip: Make sure “smile” is at the beginning of your amazon URL before you shop to ensure your charitable shopping experience is active!)
#2: Support the Red Cross with Your Holiday Purchases
The American Red Cross is one of the foremost charities around and is widely known for taking blood donations and helping with disaster relief across the United States. Even more, the Red Cross operates worldwide, with volunteers going wherever they may be needed. With that type of scope, they always need any help they can get.
You can always give directly via redcross.org, but there are other ways to leverage your holiday shopping to help out the Red Cross. Both Amazon and PayPal have give-back programs that directly support this outstanding charity.
As we mentioned before, AmazonSmile enables you to donate 0.5% of eligible purchase values year-round to charity, and the Red Cross is one of the most well-known names on that list. With PayPal, you can set your favorite charity on your account to give any time you use it as a payment method, as well as when you shop on eBay.
#3: Download a Donation Widget or Browser Extension That Helps You Give Back
There are also websites that allow you to give to the causes of your choice, whether it is a specific charity or even your favorite school. Sites like Goodshop and iGive let you pick the causes you’re most passionate about and donate a portion of your shopping totals to them.
Goodshop is supported by over 7,000 merchants, including major retailers such as Amazon, Macy’s, Target, and Best Buy. When you sign up, you get coupon offers that you can use to save on your purchases and earn cashback bonuses that you can donate. Odds are high that your favorite charity is on their list, as Goodshop supports causes like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and UNICEF.
If you want to support a local cause, iGive allows you to add them to their donation registry. When you sign up, you get access to the iGive smartphone app or can install their shortcut button on your web browser’s toolbar. Even better, your charity of choice gets an extra $15 donation added to your first purchase.
#4: Shop Directly from Your Favorite Charity
Many prominent charities have their own online shops that not only offer great products but also have a greater portion of sales to go to these causes. And since you’re buying directly from the charity, there’s less overhead or cost to offset before the donations occur.
Stand Up to Cancer has an online store that offers clothing options with collaborators like Obey and Converse. They also have jewelry from designers like ElyseRyan that make great gifts as well. As an added “thank you” for your support of their cause, Stand Up to Cancer also offers American Airlines miles as a reward for donating.
The UNICEF Market also has apparel and jewelry available, as well as home decor items and dishware. They also have made your gift shopping easy by organizing the gifts they offer into pricing tiers.
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#5: Purchase from “Buy One, Give One” Businesses
One of the largest movements to rise to prominence over the past few years is “Buy One, Give One.” Many retailers aiming to be B Certified — mission-driven companies that value transparency and giving back — have taken the approach of donating an item to charity for every one they sell.
Bombas has donated over 75 million items across all 50 states to various shelters since its founding, starting with socks and now growing to include shirts and underwear. Soapbox donates a bar of soap to someone in need through food pantries, clinics, and homeless shelters for purchases, having given over 20 million bars so far.
Sackcloth & Ashes make blankets woven from 100 percent recycled materials and an eco-friendly wool blend. For every blanket they sell, they donate a blanket to a homeless shelter in the buyer’s zip code. Happy Blankie specializes in children’s blankets and takes Buy 1, Give 1 to another level by allowing shoppers to select the recipient of the free blanket!
Yoobi sells colorful school supplies and makes matching donations for items purchased through their website and those sold via retail partners such as Target and Kohl’s. Better World Books will give a book to a library for every one purchased, new or used.
#6: Shop for the Environment with Sustainable Clothing Companies
There might be no more fantastic form of charity than taking care of Mother Earth herself. There are some amazing companies that are making it their mission to be environmentally responsible while offering outstanding products for sale, and these businesses can be great options to check out when gift shopping for the holidays.
Everlane is a clothing company focused on reducing new plastics used in producing fashion items. Whether it be the products themselves or the packaging they use, Everlane recycles to cut reliance on virgin plastics. Since its founding in 2018, they have recycled over a million pounds of nylon and 9 million plastic bottles.
Another sustainable clothing company, Toad & Co. offers both men’s and women’s fashion with the goal of being 100% sustainable and has joined with environmental conservation partners like the Environmental Defense Center to achieve this. They use materials such as hemp, organic cotton, and recyclables in their products to cut out man-made products and be greener!
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#7: Give Back at the Register This Holiday Season
Many brick-and-mortar retailers take donations in-store to support charities both locally and abroad. Rounding up at checkout has long been a successful way for stores to drive their philanthropic efforts due to one major factor: it’s not asking too much from the customer. Many of us don’t carry cash all the time, so where our parents might’ve put a dollar in the donation jar back in the day, we can simply round our $19.63 purchase up to an even $20.00 to have the same type of effect.
Retailers like Wal-Mart and GameStop offer rounding up for charity at checkout in their stores almost year round. Both stores support the Children’s Miracle Network, and donations help support children’s hospitals in the area of the stores, so that means the money is going to help the local community. GameStop is also a major supporter of the Make-a-Wish foundation with their round-up program.
#8: Use Your Credit Card to Support a Cause
Let’s face it: when it comes to holiday shopping, we tend to do our gift buying on credit a lot of the time. Thankfully, some credit card companies out there want to help support charities, too.
Charity Charge offers a no annual fee credit card that benefits your choice of over 2,000 charities across the United States. The Charity Charge card is MasterCard branded, so it’s usable virtually everywhere, almost ensuring that your selected cause is supported. Additionally, the folks at Nerdwallet have an outstanding article detailing how to use credit card rewards to give back to charity.
#9: Help Your Neighbors with Your Holiday Shopping
Last but certainly not least, do what you can for those in need in your own community. During the holiday season, area homeless shelters swell with people escaping the cold, and food banks see a greater demand for assistance.
When shopping for your holiday meals, leverage discount sites like Coupons.com to save money to buy some extra canned or dry goods that you can donate to a local food bank. And if you walk into a store and see an Angel Tree set up, grab a tag or two and buy the simple gifts listed on the card to make a child’s Christmas brighter.
You can also give back with the gently used clothing that gets replaced by your holiday gifts. Organizations like One Warm Coat provide coats to those in need across the United States and have a locator on its website to help you find a local donation site. When you receive a new shirt or pair of pants this season, take your gently used clothing to your area rescue mission.
The Season of Giving
The holidays are all about giving joy to others. Whether we’re shopping online and donating through AmazonSmile or in our favorite store and rounding up our total to donate, we can give back in so many fantastic ways.
Of all the simple ways to give this holiday season, there really is one way that can be even greater: Spread the word to inspire others to give back with their holiday shopping, too.
When shopping charitably, tell your loved ones the charity it benefitted and how much that gift helped someone else. Who knows? They may follow your lead and start to shop charitably themselves and kick off a chain reaction that helps so many in need.
Here’s to a successful holiday shopping season and pursuing greatness through giving!
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