- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
The holiday season is here. I know this because I'm already double-booked for holiday parties beginning with Thanksgiving gatherings tonight and throughout the long weekend, and I've been pulling every sparkly, shiny, sequin-y thing out of my closet to ensure I'm attired appropriately and festively. This year, as I began to plan out my calendar and to-do list (and my outfits) for the holidays, I wanted to make sure that while I was going to parties and giving presents, I was also giving back. To my delight, doing good while celebrating the holidays is easier than ever, as there can be a "good" component integrated into all your activities throughout the season.
If you're hosting a party this season, you can add an opportunity for your guests to give back. Instead of receiving the standard host gifts of wine or flowers, ask your guests to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. Other options include non-perishable food items for a food bank or a gently-used coat to donate to a local shelter. And don't forget the office party; instead of the traditional Secret Santa gift exchange, you could make a donation in your colleague's name to his or her favorite charity.
Picking out my holiday cards each year is a necessary but arduous task. Sorting through the jumbled piles of cards for an hour only to discover the store doesn't have enough of the cute snowman cards I want to send or that only the unbearably cheesy options are left makes me dread this job. However, this year, I'm ordering online and there are plenty of companies that will donate a portion of my purchase to various nonprofits.
- Shutterfly is offering Support a Cause cards this season to benefit a number of nonprofits like the World Wildlife Fund, Heifer International and LIVESTRONG. Add your picture and personalized greeting, and you'll receive your holidays cards while Shutterfly will donate 10% of sales to the charity you chose to benefit.
- Cards that Give allows you to search for the type of nonprofit you'd like to benefit, such as Animals, Education or International Relief. The site then shows you which organizations have cards available for purchase and directs you to the correct site to purchase.
- Cards Direct's Cards for a Cause campaign features cards with designs and benefiting charities selected by celebrities from your favorite TV shows. So, not only will your holiday cards have Tina Fey's signature on them, the proceeds will benefit Autism Speaks!
Yes, you can even do good while shopping for presents and holiday essentials. A lot of retailers are finding ways to give back this season; I've listed a few of my favorites below but be sure to check back, as my colleagues will be posting more on this after Thanksgiving.
- Macy's has partnered with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, so when you drop off a letter to Santa in the red post boxes in each store, Macy's will donate a $1/letter (up to $1,000,000) to the foundation. And, you'll get a response from the North Pole too!
- If you happen to be anywhere near New York on December 6, I recommend you head to Madison Avenue for a serious shopping event. Miracle on Madison is an annual event where retailers (participants include Gucci, Christian Dior and Prada) on Madison Avenue will donate 20% of the day's sales to The Children's Aid Society. This donation supports health services for New York's underserved children.
- Personally, I've wholeheartedly embraced online shopping for the holidays; I avoid the chaos of the crowds and my gifts arrive perfectly wrapped. By using the GoodShop online portal, you can shop your favorite online retailers while benefiting a cause that's important to you. Just go to GoodShop, select the charity you want to benefit from your purchases, shop as usual with stores like Amazon, Sephora, and Bloomingdales, and up to 30% of your purchases will be donated to your charity!
These ideas are only the beginning. Throughout the month of December my colleagues will be posting additional ways to give this season: gifts that give back for everyone on your list, volunteering opportunities, and how corporations are giving back. Also, feel free to comment and tell us how you give back during the holidays!
Wishing everyone a fun, fabulous and philanthropic holiday season!