Retailers' charitable efforts range from Black Friday and seasonal email campaigns to others that are more of a year-round vision that represents a company’s stance on social issues.

Just like eating too much turkey and too many holiday cookies, even a consummate shopper can grow tired of consumption. Feeling a bit that way after all these years, I decided to dedicate this upcoming column to some of the philanthropic efforts that are taking place in the industry. They range from Black Friday and seasonal email campaigns to others that are more of a year-round vision that represents a company’s stance on social issues.

Everlane initially inspired me to write this post after receiving their Black Friday promotional email. Of course, I felt immediately guilty and vowed to cut back on single-use plastic so this email did its job. Having never purchased from this brand, I plan to look at what they have to offer and think about supporting this noble cause. The omnichannel value proposition was also wise. Their email suggested that, if I stop in at their physical store, I can receive a tumbler with any purchase. So, they’re covered either way.


An Accenture holiday survey suggests that 45% of U.S. consumers more likely to shop at retailers that address social issues through their business practices. Half even said they’d be willing to choose delivery options with a lower environmental impact, such as slower shipping or in-store pickup. These behavior shifts are making an impact on retail best practices causing positive contributions.

Patagonia has been at the forefront of these efforts. This image could be found in their rotating carousel on its homepage over the holidays. The retailer has been known to give prominent placement to these efforts, often putting shopping on the back burner and not shying away from making political statements to advance its environmental beliefs.


REI got it right in 2015 when it closed its doors for Black Friday and sent its employees outside instead. The outdoor retailer’s year-round commitment is well integrated into its mission and as part of its brand.

I was familiar with Bombas but happened to hear a TV ad sharing that socks are the most requested item in homeless shelters. I was struck by that fact and went to its site to find out more. Its philanthropic vision and charitable kindness to a cause often forgotten made me look further to see if these socks could be a fit for someone on my holiday list.

Long a Clarins fan, I was happy to receive this email over Black Friday. As I was in the market to replenish my moisturizer, it was good to know that “with every order placed on, FEED and Clarins will donate 5 school meals to children in need.” This touched my heart as sadly the stories are endless.

Eileen Fisher has long been a champion of sustainability. Its Dec. 9 email does a beautiful job of explaining why it’s better for the sheep and for all of us to “shop responsible wool.” Dedicating marketing real estate at this high level is an admirable commitment.


Part of the onsite branding for Third Love includes an icon and the words, “Proud to donate all gently worn bras to women in need.” In a category with significant competition, such efforts can encourage consumers to test new brands with noble missions.

Olivela speaks to the Olivela Effect, where all purchases support causes that matter. This brand takes a different tack and lets the shopper select a cause that is of personal interest. Its statement of purpose suggests that where you shop matters and with Olivela, small actions have big impact truly sums up the story and spirit of the holiday season.

As I was in the midst of writing this post on Dec. 10, Amazon announced that it was surprising hundreds of charities across the U.S. by fulfilling products requested on each of the charities’ AmazonSmile Charity Lists. Amazon is donating hundreds of thousands of items to charities from their AmazonSmile Charity Lists through the end of the year to ensure they have what they need to round out the holiday season. This also shows the power of information and the retailer’s ability to access it in the spirit of the season.

Here’s to a holiday season that shines bright for all!