After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Shop Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday comes Giving Tuesday. Founded in 2012, Giving Tuesday is an idea that’s only two years young but is a global celebration where charities, families, businesses, communities, and students come together in order to celebrate generosity and give.
The idea behind Giving Tuesday is so ridiculously simple. Just give. That’s all.
There are so many different ways you can give back on Giving Tuesday. It doesn’t matter how you give or what you give. The only thing that matters is that you give.
Then if you feel so inclined, share how you gave to inspire others to do the same.
Since it’s the holidays and we’re focused on helping others and shopping for great gifts for those we love, why not combine the two to make a huge difference in the lives of others by giving gifts that give back.
Supporting people around the world by purchasing with a purpose creates economic empowerment and when individuals have money, they have choices. These important words have resonated with me since my first trip to Haiti where I witnessed the effect of economic development programs designed to create sustainable income for women through work thanks to programs like Macy’s Heart of Haiti. Since then, I’ve become a fan of shopping for gifts that give back because every dollar I spend helps someone rebuild their lives.
From handcrafted metal goods in Haiti, the gift of animals to benefit a family or a community, bracelets benefitting girls in Ghana, gorgeous hand woven scarves made by women in Africa, apparel that conveys important messages while benefitting non-profits, and supporting causes you already love through places you already shop, making mindful purchases this holiday season makes a huge difference to those around the world and here at home.
Here are some of my favorite gifts that give back that are sure to delight those on your shopping list who will feel even better when they know that the item you purchased for them does so much to help others.
Heifer International (gifts start at $10)- Each year our kids get a chance to donate money to Heifer International as part of the holiday gifting we do as a family. They can choose to pool their funds or donate individually for the opportunity to purchase animals that provide sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. This year Captain Computer is using his money to purchase a flock of chicks ($20) because after having our own hens, he realizes how important they can be to providing a family with a sustainable source of nutrition and income through their eggs. Emily adores the sheep her grandparents have but doesn’t have enough to purchase the gift of a sheep ($120) for a family on her own. Instead, she can help by contributing her money as part of a share that will aid in the purchase of a sheep whose milk and wool can be sold and traded at the market as a sustainable source of income.
We happen to love Heifer because through our donations, we’re helping to end world hunger and poverty while aiding others in becoming self-reliant. According to Heifer, “when many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings, and funding small businesses.” No one can argue this isn’t important and for as little as $10, we can teach our kids the importance of giving back through a sustainable gift of animals that makes a huge difference in the lives of others.
Global Goods Partners— When I visit Global Goods Partners’ (GGP) site, it’s hard to resist buying one of everything especially knowing that you’re supporting their mission of alleviating poverty and promoting social justice through the purchase of handmade jewelry, accessories, and products for home and family from around the world. With over 40 partners in 20 countries, GGP helps empower women towards creating sustainable change that I had the pleasure of witnessing when meeting co-founder, Joan Shifrin, during my last trip to Haiti. Joan, and her partner, Catherine, create effective income-generation opportunities for women and their communities by providing a market for their handmade, fair trade products that ultimately advance the health and well-being of families and communities. This treasure trove of a site provides a wide variety of products to meet every budget and style which makes it hard to click away without making a single purchase. I spend tons of time browsing this easy to navigate eye-candy of a site but especially appreciate that with each product, I know the impact of purchasing the product I’m looking at thanks to a brief description and a photo of the artisans who made it. Don’t miss the budget friendly Gifts Under $30 section that curates a selection of gorgeous gifts that really don’t look under $30! Parents of choosy teens aiming to express their individual style will appreciate the For Teens section that will ensure that you’re getting your teen something unique that is also empowering others.
100 Good Deeds Bracelet ($30)— If you have someone who is passionate about doing good in the world, the 1GD bracelet exemplifies her purpose through a purchase that employs vulnerable women by giving them work that means dignity and freedom. Serving as a call to do anonymous good deeds while empowering women, the concept is simple. The hand-braided bracelet created by women in Haiti, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, and Johannesburg is worn around your wrist and every time you complete an anonymous good deed, you slide the rubber ring closer to the brass button. How does the bracelet help others? It’s twofold. Not only is a purchase of a 100 Good Deeds Bracelet supporting vulnerable women around the world jobs but you’re also contributing to good deeds done around the world. Every time you move the ring over a single bead, you’ve done something kind for someone else. And don’t we want to be kind? I have a 100 Good Deeds Bracelet that I wear constantly and Emily does too. I love that my daughter’s wearing of the 100 Good Deeds Bracelet has created conversations with her peers and I can only hope that this creates a ripple effect among a new generation.
Macy’s Heart of Haiti (products start at $9.99)— Long time readers are familiar with my commitment to Haitian artists and love of the country after visiting twice and my devotion to helping artists create sustainable income through handmade goods for fair wages is unwavering. The purchase of any item from the Heart of Haiti collection helps artists preserve their cultural history, restore their homes, and rebuild their communities. It also helps the artists send their children to school because public education in Haiti doesn’t exist. Those we visited view education as a way to earn more money to create better lives for their children but need the income from the sale of these products to pay for tuition, uniforms, and other school fees. I could go on and on but the best thing to do is to take a look at the gorgeous items and select one for someone you love. There are so many things to choose from. My current favorite is the Jonas Sunflower Lantern that I fell in love with when I saw it being made in Haiti. I had to wait a few months before it was available for purchase through Macys.com but it was worth the wait. It’s even more beautiful in person. Trust me!
All are handmade with love by fabulous people that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through my time in Haiti. While you’re shopping on Macys.com also be sure to check out the beautiful hand woven baskets that are part of the Rwanda Path to Peace collection and FEED items by Lauren Bush Lauren!
Sevenly (apparel starts at $24) — Every week I look forward to getting an email from Sevenly featuring the cause campaign for the week and a peek at new products featuring cause art commissioned by the site celebrating the work of their charitable partners. Not only is the art stunning and meaningful but each purchase of a product donates $7 to the designated charity. The line of affordably price apparel for men and women includes a variety of styles of t-shirts in short and long sleeve versions with all kinds of necklines, sleeve lengths, and body styles to fit everyone in support of organizations like Autism Speaks, Invisible Girl Project, Exodus Cry, 4 Paws 4 Ability, and so many more. In addition to the apparel, there are accessories, prints, and a new subscription service called CauseBox. The best part of all is that every item purchased from the site donates $7 to charity. I personally love visiting the site because there’s a running total of how much money has been raised today and a grand total of the amount raised by Sevenly to date is featured in the upper right corner of the screen. I can feel good about shopping from Sevenly because they’re donating tangible amounts of money through purchases made on their site.
Ribbon Barrettes for Research ($3-4)— “Mommy, you’re going to include our ribbon barrettes in our gift guide, right?” Emily asked, as we talked about my guide going live on Giving Tuesday. And my answer was yes. How could I not include my daughter’s passion fundraiser in support of the 300,000 individuals living with cystic fibrosis that has raised nearly $2000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since June. Emily is 100% committed to her cause, as evidenced by the amazing quantity of ribbon in our home and the fact that she spends almost all of her spare time (when she’s not doing homework, practicing piano, playing basketball and soccer…) making ribbon barrettes.
At $3 for satin and $4 for sparkly ribbon, these affordable ribbon barrettes made to order make a great stocking stuffer or thoughtful just because gift for your favorite girl. Entrepreneurial Emily also has popular ribbon barrette sets like Frozen, Minecraft, and Harry Potter whose ribbon barrette colors match the themes. To order, visit RibbonBarrettes.com and click on the Order button. We’ll invoice you via PayPal and will ship your barrettes upon payment. For more information on Emily’s ribbon barrette fundraiser benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, read Raising Money to Find a Cure, One Ribbon Barrette at a Time on Babble.
Tribe Alive (products starting at $20)— Fashionable products that help women in countries around the world escape extreme poverty is what Tribe Alive is all about. This socially conscious lifestyle brand combines a passion for fashion and responsible commerce to help employ impoverished women by providing them fair wages, access to a safe job environment, and a sustainable model for earning income that leads to a chance to determine their own future. Founders Carly and Ashley strive to create positive change in the lives of women by providing market place access through the fair production and sale of our beautiful and unique pieces that include gorgeous bags, totes, necklaces, bracelets, and more. The current collection features items that are made by women in Honduras, Guatemala and Ethiopia. With a business built on a belief that every purchase should be made with a purpose and that giving back is the real fashion statement, it’s hard to resist a purchase from Tribe Alive for yourself or someone on your holiday list.
FashionABLE Scarves (starting at $36 )— I’ve been a long time fan of FashionABLE, a company that employs women in Africa jobs to create stunning handwoven scarves. FashionABLE serves as a long-term effort to fight poverty by providing opportunities for women in Africa. The company not only promotes economic development for women but assists them in starting small business cooperatives and requires the manufacturers they work with to provide fair wages and hiring practices to the women they hire.
ONE (products starting at $5)— While ONE’s mission focuses more on using your voice to create change, the ONE store features products directly benefitting people affected by issues related to extreme poverty such as the fight against infectious diseases like ebola, maternal health to provide healthcare to women and babies so they live past the first year of life, access to water and sanitation, and so many more. The ONE Store features branded ONE.org items such as apparel, accessories like phone cases, jewelry, affordable beaded bracelets ($5 each), and Product (RED) items whose mission goes to supporting the end of AIDS. For more information on ONE and ways you can use your voice to create change, read my post: 4 Ways to Use Your Voice to Advocate for Moms Around the World
To the Market (items start at $6.95)— Earlier this fall I had the opportunity to meet Jane Mosbacher Morris, founder of To the Market, and I instantly had a girl crush. How could you not love someone with a mission of showcasing “handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease.” Launched this fall, To the Market helps bring goods to the market while employing survivors and providing economic independence while raising awareness about the personal challenges they face daily. Goods available through To the Market are simply beautiful. Like Global Goods Partnership, it’s a site that I start looking at and lose all sense of time whether I’m shopping by goods (accessories, apparel, bags, home goods, jewelry, or shoes) or by causes (abuse, alleviation of poverty, disease, exploitation, genocide, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, orphanhood, and war widows). I also love that you can shop by country and the huge selection on the site ensures that there’s something for everyone that meets your budget.
Project Bead Mercy Bracelet (bracelets starting at $12)— With the goal of educating children in Ghana one bead at a time, Project Bead is an organization that I can support as a mother and former educator. Every child deserves a chance to be educated because as my grandfather always said, education is something that can never be taken away from you. Project Bead aims to alleviate world poverty through education and is doing this one bead at a time. While the collection of Project Bead Bracelets is stunning, my favorite is the Mercy Bracelet, a bracelet made of clear glass beads created in honor of Mercy, a child whom my friend C.C. Chapman met during a trip to Ghana with the ONE Campaign. Meeting Mercy on transformed C.C. who resolved to use money from the sale of each Mercy Bracelet to help fund education for children like Mercy who never had a chance to go to school because she died shortly after C.C. met her.
Amazon Smile— Since you already shop Amazon, it’s easy to support your favorite charitable organization with every purchase you make through the site at no additional cost to you. Go to http://smile.amazon.com/ and select the charitable organization that you’d like to help through your purchase and The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. Eligible products are marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. With over a million different charitable organizations to choose from, I love how Amazon makes it so crazy easy to give back through items I’m already purchasing to support the groups I love just a bit more. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Heifer International, ASPCA, Doctors Without Borders, World Wildlife Fund, Charity: Water, and The Apparent Project are just some of the million eligible 501(c)3 public charitable organizations you can support. To search among the various charities you can support, simply visit http://smile.amazon.com/ and click or hover over the Amazon Smile icon in the upper left corner where it states the charity you currently support to be led to a page to view featured organizations or type in the name of your favorite charity to find it on the list.
Not looking to make a purchase but looking to help in other ways? Here are great organizations with incredible missions.
TheShelterPetProject.org— As a family that adopted our beloved Oliver from a rescue organization, animal rescue groups are always near and dear to my heart. For years my in-laws have adopted their Labradors from Lab Rescue but did you know that out of all the pets in American homes, only 29% were adopted from a shelter or rescue. Each year approximately 3-4 million pets are adopted, but 2.7 million still lose their lives each year for lack of a home. If a pet is on your child’s holiday wish list, please consider adopting a shelter or rescue pet. Visit www.theshelterpetproject.org, where you can search for a pet from a local shelter or rescue group, read adoption success stories and learn more about pet adoption. And if you’re not considering adopting but also have a soft spot for animals that need homes, a direct donation would be much appreciated.
Girls in Focus— If you’re looking to make a direct donation today, contributions enable Girls in Focus to reach their goal of empowering young women through the art and science of photography education. Girls in Focus was born out of a frustration with the lack of diverse stories about girls and young women. Young women in the media are frequently reduced to one story: the body. And sadly, girls who are fed this spectacle all too frequently become participants in the process. To help advance this very important mission, donate directly through the Girls in Focus page on StartSomeGood.org through December 7.
All images are courtesy of the companies featured in this post. No compensation was received for the mention of any of these companies or products. All opinions are my own.