3 Ways For Your Apparel Brand to Give Back

Give-back campaigns are on the rise again within the apparel industry, but in 2021, shoppers’ expectations around these branded efforts have changed.

Modern consumers now want brands to create real, meaningful social impact and can easily see through mere publicity stunts and marketing campaigns disguised as philanthropy.

As a result, this means that in order for apparel brands to build authentic connections with customers who value that “give-back” element, charitable efforts need to be rooted in brand values, mission, and company culture — not a one-time gimmick.

The next questions, then, are:

  • What charitable causes are relevant and meaningful within the apparel space?
  • What type of give-back campaigns make sense for apparel brands?
  • How are other apparel brands finding success with give-back campaigns?

We’ll answer all of these questions and more. Let’s jump right in.

Finding inspiration and a relevant cause to support

For apparel brands searching for meaningful ways to give back and make a positive impact, looking to environmental issues is a natural fit (considering the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the world’s carbon emissions.)

Campaigns focused on promoting sustainability and eco-friendliness are becoming increasingly important, too: Studies show a brand’s sustainability efforts influence how consumers view the company overall. By addressing customers’ socio-ethical concerns and leaning into sustainability-focused efforts, apparel brands can make a positive impact all while strengthening brand loyalty with customers.

And guess what? April is Earth Month, which presents a perfect opportunity timing-wise to launch a new give-back campaign that maximizes social impact.

Why apparel brands should give back during Earth Month (and year-round)

Addressing pressing environmental challenges contributes to your brand’s transparency and authenticity — and this sits well with the modern consumer.

Who is the modern consumer?

Today, the largest segment of consumers fall under the Millennial umbrella, which has recently overthrown the Baby Boomers as the largest living generation within the US.

And as you would have it, Millennials are proud advocates of sustainability and eco-friendliness: 81% will support companies that are working to become good corporate citizens or are already making meaningful progress in that direction.

This stance has only become more solid since the onset of the pandemic, with more shoppers encouraging players within the fashion and apparel industry to be more socially and environmentally responsible.

So how do you launch a give-back campaign that does this well? The first step is all about planning.

Planning required

The digital-first nature of the eCommerce and direct-to-customer business models take some of the traditional giving back methods off the table: You can’t simply put a donation jar next to your register, after all.

However, there are creative workarounds that can help create a similar type of setup in the online environment (which is exactly what we do at ShoppingGives…more on this in a bit.)

Before you get into the nuts and bolts of execution, though, you need to nail down a documented strategy.

Brainstorm with your team

First, sit down and brainstorm with your team about initiatives that can help strike a positive chord with your target audience and produce a significant impact on the environment. Create a shortlist of causes or organizations to consider supporting, and decide which ones are the best fits for your needs.

Set a goal

Like any campaign a business launches, setting a clear objective allows you to accurately measure success and acts as a performance benchmark. Consider speaking with leadership at the organization you’re supporting to gauge how much you’d need to raise to make a lasting impact for them.

Your goal might be things like:

  • A dollar amount raised for the non-profit partner organization
  • A percentage reduction or offset of the brand’s environmental impact
  • A funding match total (e.g. matching shoppers’ donations dollar-for-dollar)

Nail down your messaging

Brainstorming and goal-setting are only the tip of the iceberg; you still need to fine-tune your messaging to be sure it aligns with your brand values, mission, voice, and tone. Be sure you document your messaging strategy for your give-back campaign so that all partners have a reference point they can revisit when questions arise.

Establish campaign dates

How long are you planning to run your give-back campaign? If you only intend to make it active during a specific timeframe such as Earth Month, you still need to set an explicit launch and end date for internal reference and so your customers are clear about how and when they can get involved. If it’s an ongoing campaign, you can keep the timeline open-ended, but still establish regular intervals for performance evaluation.

Create an execution plan

When you’re ready to bring your campaign to life, be sure to leverage smart tech and tools that make executing a give-back campaign simple. At ShoppingGives, we enable you to work with a selected partner organization or charity while also giving your customers an option to donate to their preferred institution at checkout. This bridges the intention-action gap and encourages shoppers to act right off the bat while getting something in return — your product.

3 examples of apparel brands giving back

If you’re searching for inspiration for ways your apparel brand can give back, take a look at a few fashion brands who have already found success with their campaigns.

White + Warren

White + Warren is an apparel brand big on giving back. Responsible production is one way they do this on a day-to-day basis, with items like their low-impact cashmere knits that are made from recycled yarns.

But CEO Susan White-Morrissey wanted to scale up the company’s philanthropy work a bit more. In 2018, the brand partnered with ShoppingGives and launched their most successful campaign to date on GivingTuesday.

The American Heart Association was the brand’s chosen cause, but since ShoppingGives provides the ability for shoppers to select from 1.4 million non-profit organizations to support, customers had the option to donate to a cause close to their own hearts, too.

White + Warren took the campaign even further by implementing an automatic 1% give-back that directed 1% of all sales to AHA during American Heart Month. In doing so, every purchase made that month became a part of this overarching give-back initiative.


Footwear brand Nisolo realized the number the fashion industry does to the environment, so in return, they decided to work double-time to reduce their carbon footprint. Today, for every product they sell, they contribute funds that help preserve and protect the Amazon rainforest.

But they didn’t stop at implementing the one-to-one charitable giving model TOMS shoes has popularized. They also support ethically-made products and provide a steady source of income to the indigenous Peruvian communities in the area where their products are made. As of 2021, the company helped prevent 138,180 trees from being taken down.

Known Supply

Like Nisolo, Known Supply is an apparel brand that not only aids the planet with sustainable products, but also celebrates the people who make their products. They believe that by putting the people behind the product into the spotlight, they can highlight their value within the industry and change their lives.

Aside from ethical production and fair wages, the brand also partners with non-profit organizations to extend financial support to some of the most vulnerable maker communities in Peru, Uganda, and India.

Give back, make a difference

There are many moving parts when launching a give-back campaign for your apparel brand, but proper planning helps streamline the process.

Run an effective brainstorm session and you may be surprised at the number of ideas your team can come up with around a meaningful give back campaign. When it comes to goal-setting, use this tool to figure up your potential impact. From there, define your campaign strategy and define its time frame to increase its effectiveness. Then all that’s left to do is launch.

Capitalize on the momentum of Earth Day this year and get your next give back campaign in motion.



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The simple and native solution for eCommerce and Direct-to-Consumer brands to seamlessly give back.