A typical Black Friday scene is filled with long lines, screaming children, angry parents, and huge crowds of people all fighting to get the lowest price for the things they think they need for Christmas. But there are a few brands every year that take a stand against crass consumerism and use Black Friday as a way to give back. Here are a few of our favorite Black Friday incentives from 2016.
Patagonia has a long history of making charitable contributions part of their profitable business plan. Did you know that, on a daily basis, 1 percent of their sales is donated to grassroots charities? Anticipating Black Friday revenue of $2 million, Patagonia committed to giving 100 percent of sales to charity. Instead, they were pleasantly surprised to be on the hook for $10 million dollars — one of the largest Black Friday donations of all time.
Patagonia showed deep appreciation for the planet by funding small, underfunded groups. These grassroots organizations work in local communities to protect our air, water, and soil for future generations, as stated on their Instagram. They’ve proven that a large international brand can give back to the planet and still be successful.
2. Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity, the quirky card game that encourages people to be their most horrible, asked customers to crowdfund the digging of a Black Friday hole. As ridiculous as it sounds, more than $100,000 arrived in donations and 14,000 people engaged directly with the brand by watching a livestream of the hole being dug.
But why? “Is there some sort of deeper meaning or purpose to the hole?” — a question posted in HolidayHole.com, a site dedicated to digging this hole by Cards Against Humanity. “No.” There’s no purpose, and they still managed to raise $100k. Weirdly impressive!
Everlane, a conscious apparel company committed to factory transparency, wanted to make sure its employees’ commute to work was as safe and comfortable as the time they spend at work. To that end, Everlane created the “Get Home Safe” campaign, a project that raised over $100,000 from Black Friday sales to make sure that all 8,000 employees in their Ho Chi Min factory received new helmets for their commute. The Vietnamese workers travel to work in mopeds — some spend up to 12 hours on the road during the week. With over 20,000 people in Vietnam dying annually in road accidents, this incentive gave a warm-hearted feeling to shopping online.
Everlane is known for transparency in manufacturing. They share on their website all of the factories that they partner with, the story of how they’ve come to work together, the materials used in these factories, and the overall production process.
Athleta, a women’s athletic apparel company, found an interactive way for shoppers to give back during the Black Friday season. While shopping in-store, customers were presented an option to donate at checkout to Girls on the Run – a non-profit that inspires creativity through fitness and builds healthy, lifelong habits. This incentive helps active women pass on a healthy lifestyle to young girls around the country.
With Gap Inc. as their parent company, it’s pleasing to see Athleta take a particular interest in Girls on the Run. As stated on their site, “Girls on the Run inspires girls to take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. It’s a place where girls learn that they can. No limits. No constraints. Only opportunities to be remarkable.”
Uniform is a technology-driven streetwear apparel company for men and women. The company is built on a social strategy that donates one school uniform per purchase to a Liberian child in need. During last year’s Black Friday season, two uniforms were donated with each purchase.
Uniform’s mission is to eliminate child labor, sweatshops, disposable fashion, and overpaying for luxury, and they go the extra mile by producing all clothes in Africa. Additionally, Uniform provides jobs to working mothers in ethical factories.
These companies are unique in their approach to charitable giving during the Black Friday season, and they raise the bar high for all brands. From big names like Patagonia and Athleta, to smaller companies such as Uniform, giving back is a way for us all to unite and make the world a better place. We become aware of our freedom to consume goods excessively, and redirect that energy towards helping our planet and helping others. In 2017 and in years to come, we hope that hearty contributions will be the new normal.