You’re Shopping Anyway–How to Make Your Purchase Count 3 Times

What a difference 10% makes when it’s extracted from $460 billion.  The latter figure is what Americans spent on holiday shopping last year despite a rapidly eroding economy and forewarned doldrums ahead.  It’s been said before, but it’s worth another step to the soapbox:  What if we choose to buy only merchandise that has a social or environmental benefit? This action is easy, and collectively we can channel $32,200,000,000 toward critical needs from holiday purchases alone (calculated on 10% of purchases).

My story

In mid-November I made the personal commitment to buy only gifts that give back, but soon decided that I wanted to make a larger impact than my small list of recipients offered. With $200 I sketched a mock-up and paid for the design and development of iGiveTwice, a Twitter-powered awareness campaign that encourages people to choose gifts that have a social or environmental benefit and shows recommend products. Ethically sourced, naturally grown, fair-wage and fair-trade, and portions of sales donated, are all practices that carry a secondary benefit.
Since iGiveTwice is an awareness campaign and not a product directory (see World of Good and Cause Shoppe for product choices) I knew that I needed to align with extant marketplaces and manufacturers. Via Twitter, I approached eBay’s World of Good (among others) with a proposed partnership that would steer consumers toward their ethical products and raise money for a nonprofit as the result of a viral campaign. A week later, World of Good and eBay Giving Works pledge $1 per campaign tweet to Heifer International, up to $2,500 through December 25. Pure delight on my end.

Two things you can do that will give your purchase a triple impact:

  1. Choose gifts that give back this year–whatever that means to you.
  2. Tweet about it here to raise money for Heifer International to provide families in need with income-generating livestock.

It’s easy to do–much easier to do than even two years ago. Products that are ‘good for the world’ have long moved past itchy fair-trade sweaters and useless bobbles to designer fashion, tech gear and now, even Pepsi.

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  1. Geoff December 20, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    Thanks so much for posting this. This is great stuff!