As we enter the busiest shopping season of the year, I can’t help but feel a little bothered by the pressure to consume. Most Americans put so much emphasis on buying people the perfect gift, that it stresses us all out to the point of hurting each other.
For some, Black Friday is the time of year to get all their goods at a discounted price, and I can totally respect that. For me personally though, gifts feel so much more meaningful and attainable when they involve a gift that keeps on giving (like an investment or charitable component).
When REI started #OptOutside three years ago, I was immediately drawn in. I am fortunate enough to not need to buy necessities around Black Friday, but it’s always been a tradition for my mom and I to go to the mall. REI inspired us the past two years to skip the Black Friday craze and be together outside; we get the joy of being together without the stress of elbowing people in stores to get the last discounted item.
If you’re like me and wondering how to take advantage of Black Friday without giving into the mass consumerism, check out how these 8 brands are treating the holiday!
4 brands directly donating for Black Friday
Probably the best known of the bunch, REI has been doing their #OptOutside campaign for 3 years now, making 2018 the fourth. Amazingly they’ve seen revenue increase from this activation. This year, they’ve expanded the program to pledge $1 million toward research around deepening the understanding of how time outside impacts our health, in addition to giving their 12,000 employees the paid day off and closing their stores.
This fair wage “radically transparent” brand doesn’t give out a Black Friday discount, because they claim their prices are as good as they can be all year round to support their staff. But if you do shop with them on Black Friday this year, they’re giving it straight back to our environment — donating $13 of every order placed online and in store to the Surfrider Foundation up to $250,000 to reduce 200,000 pieces of plastic in the ocean. Last year they did something similar but gave back to the factories instead; factory partner, Saitex, was matching their contribution dollar for dollar and promised to provide pesticide free, healthy lunches to their workers in Vietnam.
Outdoor brand Patagonia has promised to donate 100% of the profits from Black Friday to charity. Last year it was geared toward saving the environment, but they haven’t announced their charity of choice this year yet. Year round since 1985, they also pledge 1% of all sales to nonprofit environmental groups as a member of 1% for the Planet®.
Forever cheeky, Cards Against Humanity knows how to give people a laugh. Last year, they pretended to be a chip company and sold nothing. The previous year they just asked people to give them $5 and then dispersed it amongst charities (and joked about spending it on something else). They’ve also used some of their profits to help defend against Trump’s Wall bordering Mexico. I’ll definitely be watching out for what this brand does this year!
4 brands that give back year round
Black Friday is not the only time of year to give back while shopping (or the only time to shop at all ;)). Here are four brands that I personally shop as they have a donation program year round!
As most people know by now, Toms offer a one to one model year round — donating a pair of shoes or glasses to someone in Africa for every purchase. They’ve recently expanded their offering to include coffee shops that provide water to those in need to Africa, as well as bags that help women in labor, giving you a broader range of products to shop, and places to give back to! On Black Friday you’ll get an extra 30% off everything, meaning Toms is donating even more than normal.
(PS: If you haven’t seen already, TOMS just released an initiative to help stop gun violence that’s pretty neat.)
Love Your Melon started by two college friends looking to give back with a goal to give beanies to all kids with cancer — and it has grown into so much more from there. 50% of net profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund to support the fight against pediatric cancer, create therapeutic experiences and fund charitable programming initiatives for children and families battling cancer. They haven’t announced their Black Friday deals yet, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are always big fundraising times for this brand. In 2016 they donated $414,095 from Cyber Monday alone, and to date they’ve raised $4,758,816!
Conscious Step took something everyone needs — socks — and made it something you can feel good about buying! Not only are their socks made in a fair trade environment by organic sustainable materials, but every purchase gives to 1 of 12 charities of your choice. Each design contributes to a different global cause: for example in partnership with UNAIDS, the company has socks that provide 1 week of HIV therapy for an expectant mother; with Room to Read they have socks that provide 2 school books; with Action Against Hunger they have socks that provide 6 meals for a starving child; with Water.org each pair provides 18 months of clean water to someone without this basic need, lastly, with Trees for the Future they have socks that plant 20 trees (source: Cause Artist).
Last but not least, make sure all of your Amazon shopping is done through Amazon Smile! All of the same products and your same log-in, but .5% of it donated to your favorite charity. You just go to smile.amazon.com, register the charity of your choice, and voila!, each purchase you make moving forward will have a portion donated. There’s never been an easier way to give back!
These 8 brands are proving that you can make a difference while you shop, and give back while you give your gifts!
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