7 Ways To Give Back While Shopping This Holiday Season

With Black Friday deals already over and done with, the holiday shopping season is just beginning for those who either avoid the madness that is Black Friday or who, like me, are bad at procrastinating on their holiday shopping lists. When and where you are going to get your holiday shopping done, however, should not be, in retrospect, the highest concern on your holiday priority list.

With the holidays getting into full swing, it is also that time of year for us to think about those less fortunate than ourselves. Many people, of all ages and backgrounds, will be struggling to make it through the winter with food and heat, let along worrying about Christmas gifts and holiday sleigh rides. If you have been looking for a way to give back this season, besides dropping a few quarters in the Salvation Army donation box, here are seven ways for you to shop while providing a charitable donation for those in need this holiday season.

1. GoodShop

One of the best ways to shop and make a charitable donation is to utilize websites that make charitable donations with your purchases. Many shopping sites like Amazon and eBay already offer such services this time of year, but one hub you should also be sure to check out if you are not an avid Amazon or eBay shopper is GoodShop.com.

GoodShop allows you to pick a charitable cause like ASPCA and Feeding America (among many others) and then shop for merchandise at thousands of different stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Best Buy. When you finish shopping and checkout with your cart, GoodShop will donate a portion of your purchase to whichever cause you have selected. This takes the stress and hassle out of your holiday shopping while simultaneously allowing you to give back during the holiday season. If you haven’t already gotten all of your shopping out of the way, or you still have a few stragglers on your list, you should definitely consider giving GoodShop a visit.

2. UNICEF

UNICEF is a charitable organization that works year round in raising donations for children in need around the world. One of their donation campaigns during the holiday season includes their Holiday and Christmas card collection. UNICEF offers a vast assortment of holiday greeting cards that are perfect for sticking on wrapped-gifts under the tree or for stocking-stuffers over the fireplace. A portion of your purchase then goes to help children in need around the world, not only during the holidays, but throughout the course of the year. So if you are planning on doing some greeting cards this year, consider shopping at UNICEF; a $12-20 purchase there can go a long way in promoting the spirit of the season.

3. GreaterGood

GreaterGood is another shopping-oriented organization that partners with nonprofits to support charitable-specific causes like Breast Cancer, Hunger, Literacy, and Diabetes (to name a few) around the world. Like GoodShop and UNICEF, a portion of your purchase is designated to one or more of their nonprofit partners, and they have donated up to $35 million to charities since their start back in 1999. You can shop for all kinds of gifts through their website, including clothes, jewelry, furniture, musical instruments, home and garden, and many more. So if you still plan to shop before the end of the holidays, be sure to “shop where it matters.”

4. Better World Books

Getting wrapped up in materialistic shopping items becomes incredibly easy during the holiday season, especially with all of the deals and promotions going on this time of year. One gift you can give, however, that won’t simply go towards corporate profits or that won’t become obsolete in the next few months is a book! Books make for perfect gifts, mainly because the context that amount of subject matter that can be covered is so extensive and yet made unique for each individual reader. You can explore a science fiction or fantasy world, discover ancient philosophies, or find a new hero in a biographical work. The possibilities are literally endless.

Bookstores also take the opportunity to hop on the holiday-donations bandwagon by providing book or dollar donations to charities and libraries across the country and around the world. A good site that provides this service during the holiday is BetterWorldBooks.com. Everything from classic literary novels to modern text books is available, and through their BookForBook program, every time you make a purchase on their site, they in-turn donate a book to nonprofit organizations like Books For Africa. It’s a win-win for everyone: great reading for you, and great reading for those in need.

5. Sudara

Another cause-specific site you can check out for your charitable donations is Sudara. Sudara is a shopping site that works specifically for the goal of helping victims of sex slavery in Asia, namely in India. Their main product for supporting their charitable efforts is called Punjammies. These are essentially pajama pants that are available in long and short size for men, women, and children, and, according to the site, every pair sold is named after a woman who has escaped slavery and is now employed with a Sudara sewing center partnership. Slavery, in the minds of many here in America, may belong to the past, but it is still something that is very much prevalent in modern society, particularly in Asia and Eastern Europe. So if you need a new pair of pajamas this season, considering visiting Sudara’s website and play a small part in stopping the world sex trade. 

6. TOMS

TOMS originally started out by designing a unique type of shoe that could be sold in millions of different varieties, but since the implementation of their One-for-One program, their inventory has extended to include eyewear, apparel, bags, and coffee.

Their main focus still lies mainly on their signature shoe design, but with the One-for-One concept in full swing and their inventory growing to include a more diverse selection of products, TOMS has, in turn, adapted their charitable networking efforts. If you buy a pair of shoes (or any other item on their site), TOMS will provide a gift for someone in need. Whether that means a pair of shoes, a visit to the doctor, or a pair of prescription glasses, TOMS will use a portion of your purchase to put towards providing those services to someone in need. This is a great place to get your shoe shopping done, because even if it’s not entirely necessary, everyone can do with a new pair of shoes.  

7. RED

RED is another charitable shopping service that caters specifically to providing support for HIV/AIDS patients and for further research about the disease. Co-founded by Bono (the lead singer of the Irish-rock band U2), RED has teamed up with some big name-brand companies like Starbucks and Apple to raise money for further HIV/AIDS research. It works very much like GoodShop, where the website acts essentially as a server for their partnered companies to advertise and sell their products, the profits of which are cut by a percentage to go towards RED’s charitable efforts. Again, this one if more cause-specific, but if you want to help someone suffering with this disease this holiday season, RED is the place to go.