By: Devi Thomas and Jon Fee
In homes everywhere, this is the time of year where there are lists for Santa, packages to mail to family, and stockings to stuff. Black Friday is all about getting ready for the holidays by snatching amazing deals wherever we can find them. But what if that deal included a gift to communities in need? In a year like this one, that’s a new deal worth celebrating.
2020 has changed everything — the way we eat out, the way we gather, how we shop, and the way we celebrate the holidays. This Black Friday, a holiday unto itself, we have a chance to start a new tradition with our families: helping our communities thrive while we shop.
While “Buy-AND-Help-Others Friday” doesn’t have the same ring to it, we do have an opportunity as consumers to combine our usual shopping patterns with support for nonprofits.
The infamous shopping day was originally named Black Friday because retail brands hoped consumers would keep them “in the black” during a critical financial quarter. Getting out of the red — and into the black — symbolized corporate profits.
But this year, keeping brands alive may not be enough. Can we get communities out of the red, too? Particularly at a time when 62% of nonprofits are reporting a decline in funding, ultimately resulting in less support and life-saving programs for the most vulnerable populations.
During the holidays, we tend to view Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the days for materialism, and their lesser known neighbor, Giving Tuesday, as the day for altruism. In 2020, a year where nothing is constant, we think that can change too.
Brand Purpose is on the Rise
Being more intentional about the things we buy is not new consumer behavior. We know that nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer a brand that is tied to a purpose. People want brands to take a stance on societal issues and they will buy, or boycott, based on those positions. People care about the issues impacting their communities, and they want brands to do the same. As brands choose causes to get behind, they are helping consumers transfer their values to their spending.
The power of the consumer has never been stronger to save retail, to save small businesses, and to save our nonprofit community. As consumers, we cast a vote with the money we spend on brands. So if you are voting with your money, choose companies that put their purpose first. This decision will have a dual effect.
First, as COVID-19 continues to exacerbate inequalities, we can ensure marginalized communities aren’t left behind. Second, as communities survive and thrive, we see downstream and upstream economic benefits for all of us. It’s the old truism: we can all do well by doing good.
As more people are shopping online, their purchasing patterns are changing. Seventy-five percent of US consumers have reported trying a new shopping behavior during the pandemic. That indicates an openness to new things — which is a perfect time to move buying habits in the direction of community value. Adobe Analytics predicts that Black Friday online sales are projected to hit a staggering $10 billion. Could you imagine what even a percent of that could do for nonprofits and community services?
Whether buying for your spouse, little kids, teens, or parents, try to sync your cause to who you are shopping for. Your tween may want to support STEM while your teen may prefer the environment. There’s a cause for everyone and a lot of terrific brands that support them. Here are some of our favorite Black Friday deals:
- Scholarships for girls impacted by COVID-19: Getting outside during the pandemic has been a welcome relief to many. The North Face and Girl Scouts couldn’t agree more. As experts of the outdoors, the brand and nonprofit have teamed up to help empower, equip, and encourage girls as they adventure outside. By purchasing their special edition shirt, you’ll be helping support scholarships for girls in communities impacted by COVID-19.
- Protecting animal habitats: A lot of little boys and girls like the ones we have at home are animal lovers. The World Wildlife Fund offers Symbolic Species Adoptions. Each adoption comes with an adorable stuffed animal, which is a great gift for littles — or even an adult…who doesn’t love sloths? More importantly, the money goes toward global efforts to protect wild animals and their habitats. Saving species AND something to cuddle? Sounds like a great deal.
- Supporting the arts: Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced many museums to shut their doors. The good news is you can give the gift of art with something from MoMA. They have everything from games to clothes to furniture, so there is truly something for everyone. Every purchase from their store will help keep the arts alive, adding color to our lives even when we’re stuck at home.
- Keeping our oceans blue: So what about those of us who have kids at home who have outgrown stuffed animals? Surfrider Foundation has a collection of on-trend clothing and hats. While looking cool is great for the ‘gram, what’s even better is that all of the proceeds from their store go toward funding their mission to protect the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches — for all people.
While much of Black Friday is driven by deals, the deals that we should care most about are those that help our communities. Let’s face it, those clothes will eventually go out of style and that TV will be replaced with something newer, but the contribution to a nonprofit will pay dividends. The more people those organizations can help, the more our neighborhoods thrive. This means your purchase is an investment that will compound in community value over time.
This is one of the simplest ways we can be part of the build-it-back-better agenda in this pandemic. You know the feeling, right? When you buy a new gadget, or a new outfit, and you’ve just saved a life or the planet, that’s the best deal you will find in 2020.
Learn more about how you can reimagine your corporate social responsibility program.