The Give-Get Model : Fashion & Charity

FEED 1 BAG, Feed Projects, $80

Who doesn’t like getting some swag for giving to charity? No one, that’s who. But getting something shiny and new in return for the money you give isn’t entirely as superficial as you might think it sounds. I’m going to tell you why I think buying social cause swag is actually a GREAT way to give.

  1. You’re giving money. It’s undeniable that your donation to a charity is helping the organization in achieving their goal. What most people take issue with is that when you buy a good from an organization, not 100% of your donation is actually going to further the mission. This is of course because there are overheard costs that went towards making that product you just bought. That T-shirt, let’s say, cost time and money to produce, all of which you need to pay for. More than that, the company that was actually hired to produce that T-shirt needs to earn a profit, so you’re paying for that too. But you know what else you’re paying for? You are paying that extra few dollars the organization you love needs to hire its next Director of Development, or maybe the extra cash it needs to install internet its newest remote location. Don’t undervalue that dollars you are giving.
  2. You are free advertising. Better yet, they just got paid to be advertised! Buying a product is much more than a donation.  You are actually investing in spreading the mission of an organization when you buy its products. So maybe $10 of that $24 iPhone case went straight to the factory, and was never even going to help the organization in the first place. But you just gave that organization countless amounts of advertising. Every time you are seen texting on your cell, your social cause is seen too. Now the word has spread from the organization, to you, to ten, twenty, maybe even fifty others. You think movements don’t start this way? Just look at what TOM’s did for the movement for shoes in developing countries.
  3. You get to look cool. Let’s not forget the reason you bought that new iPhone case in the first place- it looks really friggin cool. At the end of the day, you just won, because you get a new fashion statement piece and an organization just got a donation.

charity:water iPad case

In case you are in the market for some new gear with a social benefit, here are my two favorite do-gooder products right now:

Warby Parker’s “Preston” women’s eyeglasses: All of Warby Parker’s glasses are less than $100, and when you buy a pair, you are also giving a pair to someone in a developing nation.

The FEED 10 NYC bag from The Feed Foundation: Each of these bags will provide 10 meals to the hungry in New York City.

1 comment
  1. Daphna Oren said:

    I LOVE my WAMU mug, Gesher tote, WorldWildlifeFund tee, and Xanax paperweight! (oops, so the drug company gets airtime too…)

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