20 Places Where You Can Always Shop for a Worthy Cause
Shopping can be even more rewarding when you know your purchase also goes to helping those in need. While some mainstream retailers promote socially conscious shopping through one-off charity products from time to time, plenty let you buy terrific products and promote the greater good all year 'round. (See also: Easy Ways to Support Charity)
TOMS sells their signature shoes using the "one for one" mission, meaning for every pair sold, they donate a pair to a child in need. The company has already given over two million pairs in more than 60 countries, and has also expanded into eyewear using the same concept. TOMS continues to add new styles to their classic lineup, and products can be purchased at the company's site, certain department stores, and popular retail locations.
Novica, which works in association with National Geographic, boasts over 30,000 unique, handcrafted items for sale from artisans in developing nations. Sale proceeds help local artisans generate income to improve their quality of life. The site has many affordable finds, and offers unique jewelry, decor, art, and other handmade gifts, which usually come with the artisan's bio. (See also: Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas)
3. Product (RED)
(RED) products raise money for the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. U2 lead singer and AIDS activist Bono helped develop the concept, which partners the (RED) brand with many well-known retailers, like Apple, who sell designated (RED) products on their own sites. Up to 50% of the profits go to the Global Fund, and such products cost the same as non-(RED) items.
4. Everything Happy
Everything Happy sells children's products, like adorable animal blankets, stuffed toys, and clothing. For every purchase, the company donates a product to one of their designated hospitals, orphanages or Ronald McDonald houses, which you get to choose by using a registration code upon receiving your product. (See also: Donate Toys to Control Clutter)
5. FEED Projects
Fashion model, designer, and granddaughter of former President George H. W. Bush, Lauren Bush, started FEED after designing a bag to benefit the United Nation's World Food Program. Today, the company sells a collection of cool bags and totes, apparel, and accessories branded with the FEED logo. The sale of FEED products provides meals and vitamin supplements to children in need all over the world.
The GreaterGood family of websites follows a "click to give" mission with eight individual sites selling products whose proceeds support a number of well-known women's, children's, health, animal, and environmental causes and institutions. There is a vast array of merchandise available, from apparel to home items to cause-specific goods.
7. SoapBox Soaps
Besides selling all-natural, gluten-free, vegan, and made in the U.S.A soaps packaged with all recycled materials, SoapBox Soaps also donates one bar of soap, fresh water, or vitamins to a child in need across the globe for every purchase made. Soapbox also contributes to shelters and nursing homes in the U.S. Products can be purchased at the company's site or found in many retail locations, including select Whole Foods Markets.
8. eBay Giving Works
eBay Giving Works functions just like eBay's regular buying and selling platform. However, sellers donate a portion of product proceeds to one of eBay's designated charities, which include many well-known causes. All charities supported are screened by PayPal's Giving Fund, which means your money only goes to legit organizations and always reaches its intended destination.
9. KNO Clothing
KNO Clothing sells stylish apparel and accessories all made from fairly traded, organic, or sustainable fabric. But it doesn't stop there. KNO uses 50% of the profits to help end homelessness, with each purchase providing an article of clothing to someone in need and supporting the work of the company's partners who provide housing.
10. Goodwill Stores
You may be familiar with Goodwill shops that resell donated clothing and home goods (there are 165 independent stores in the U.S. and Canada), but you may not realize what your purchase supports. Retail sales go towards funding job training, employment placement, and other community programs that Goodwill offers.
11. Ralph Lauren Pink Pony
Ralph Lauren has long promoted its Pink Pony Products. Ten percent of the purchase price of these products benefits the Pink Pony Fund of the Ralph Lauren Foundation, which funds initiatives for cancer care and prevention. Items include apparel and home goods, all with the trademark Pink Pony emblem.
12. Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages is one of the world's largest fair trade organizations that aims to sell unique, handmade products from disadvantaged artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Proceeds help skilled artisans to earn money for basic necessities and an improved quality of life. Products are sold in nearly 400 U.S. retail outlets or through the company's site, and include handmade jewelry, décor, apparel, and other beautiful gifts.
13. Best Friends Boutique on Wag.com
Best Friends Animal Society has opened an online store, called Best Friends boutique, which can be found on popular pet e-tailer, Wag (one of the Diaper.com sister sites). 50% of the proceeds from Best Friends logo items go towards helping the society run the nation's largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals, as well as their other no-kill shelter initiatives and programs.
Touted by some as the Etsy for socially conscious shopping, Roozt is an online platform that offers a collection of hip brands from mission-oriented retailers. Roozt's philosophy, "bringing sexy back to giving back," allows retailers to set up storefronts on the site and offer cool products that make a difference. In addition, for every member who joins the site (membership is free), Roozt donates a meal to an American in need through their partnership with hunger relief charity, Feeding America.
15. B. toys
For every B. toy bought, ten cents is donated to Free the Children, which is an international charity and educational partner that has built over 650 schools around the world. B. toys are unique, educational products currently sold at Target and select specialty stores.
Giftback works like many of the popular flower and gift basket sites out there, selling gourmet food and gift baskets, flower arrangements, and customized corporate gifts. However, 10% of every purchase is donated to one of Giftback's designated charities, which the buyer can choose from. The site is geared towards giving, so your recipient will not only get to see your gift card message, but will be notified that a portion of the gift was also donated to the charity you chose.
17. Charity Wines and Benefit Wines
Charity Wines teams up with professional athletes and celebrities who donate their name and image to a unique wine brand. Around 70% of the sale proceeds of these unique bottles go the athlete's designated charity. Wines are single runs, which means they sell out and there are only a few items to pick from. Not to worry, however, as they have a sister site, Benefit Wines, which follows the same concept using charitable causes on the label (primarily animal charities) and has a greater inventory selection.
Chilanthropy, named after the concept of "relaxing while being philanthropic," sells beautiful all natural candles and bath products. The eco-conscious company donates 5% of all candle sale proceeds to different environmental charities and organizations. Each candle is paired with a specific charity based on its theme or name and supports such causes as rainforest, coral reef, and forest preservation.
19. ASPCA Online Store
Check out the online shop of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for some great pet related products. They have everything from pet items to adult and children's clothing and accessories. A small portion of sale proceeds supports the ASPCA's work towards helping animals.
20. Charity Malls
Charity mall sites, like Goodshop and iGive, work with thousands of retailers online to designate a portion of your regular purchase to a charity of your choice. You can shop through the charity sites or use one of the charity site apps to have purchases automatically credited when you directly visit a merchant site. You never pay more for items, and the charity sites help you track how much you raise. It's important to note, however, that the percentage donated is usually pretty low — on average, 0.5% to 3% for most retailers.
These are just a sampling of the retailers out there offering products that give back. As a reminder, it's always best to do a little checking to make sure any do-good shopping goes to a legitimate cause and you know how much actually gets donated. (See also: How to Pick a Charity)
What are some of your favorite places to shop for a cause?