Giving Gifts That Give Back
December 4, 2015 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I'd love to get my family meaningful and nifty gifts along the lines of (Red) and TOMS, where you buy a thing and proceeds are given to charities. My family is passionate about dog rescue, helping women become self-sufficient, fighting poverty and children's rights. A high level of gift niftiness is essential so the presents should lean more towards fabulous bracelets or scarves and lean far away from a letter of thanks.
posted by kinetic to Shopping (18 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
How about Punjammies? I'm not sure how you can vet some of these companies in terms of their marketing story vs the reality of how much real impact they have, but on the surface, Punjammies seem good. The 2 pairs I ordered a few years ago were quite cute... it looks like the current styles are a bit different/simpler than before, but still nice.
posted by jenquat at 2:42 PM on December 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

Barkbox supports good dog causes.
Warby Parker donates glasses.

However, I really came here to say that I am SORELY disappointed that Punjammies do not involve puns. I would be all. over. that.
posted by the_blizz at 2:52 PM on December 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

Blue Q socks support Doctors Without Borders.
posted by kimdog at 2:54 PM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

Here's a list to start with.

I would recommend doing some research on the companies before purchasing though. A lot of these type of companies market themselves as some type of charity when the real impact is questionable. TOMS used cheap third-world labor to make their shoes (this may not be the case anymore), and there's a lot of other criticism regarding the business and the actual impact it had on communities it was supposed to help.
posted by monologish at 3:00 PM on December 4, 2015 [9 favorites]

The Animal Rescue Site sells lots of gifty items and the proceeds fund food and care for rescued animals.
posted by workerant at 3:23 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Kate Spade's On Purpose line works with artisans (mostly women) from Rwanda, and they help support paid benefits and leave time among other initiatives. Beautiful bags and jewelry. Out of Print has everything from coasters to tees of out-of-print book covers and other book-themed items; every item purchased buys a book for a community in need. The website Girls of a Certain Age sent around an email blast today that doesn't appear on their website, but they suggested these sites among others (look how amazing these colors are!)

I do agree with doing your own research-- I'm going by public profiles, not personal knowledge of the work these companies do. I've bought products from Out of Print in the past and been very happy with them, but I have no idea what books have been bought or where they've gone.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:23 PM on December 4, 2015 [6 favorites]

Here is a list of jewelry items with some proceeds going to charity.
posted by earth by april at 3:34 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Women's Bean Project (they also sell jewelry) employs chronically unemployed and impoverished women (here's a great article from Forbes about them).

Lots of animal shelters make calendars to raise money for shelter work.

You didn't mention veterans, but lots of vets are unemployed and two organizations that work to employ veterans are Sword and Plough (expensive, but really lovely products) and Rags of Honor.
posted by jabes at 3:52 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Etkie sells beautiful jewelry made by Native American women, with the goal of empowering them economically.
posted by delight at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Made by Survivors
posted by evilmomlady at 4:04 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Jaffa Dolls are made by a collective of Israeli and Palestinian women to help them be self sufficient: if you're in the US you can get them at that link.
posted by bluedeans at 5:17 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Lucky Iron Fish.
posted by zadcat at 6:04 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love everything I've ever bought from 31 Bits.
posted by katie at 6:05 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not sure if this fits your bill, but we like giving a $25 Kiva gift card -- they can choose the loan recipient, and then when the loan is paid back they can take the $25 in cash to SPEND AND GO NUTS WITH YAY!!!!! (We've made 30+ Kiva loans and only one defaulted.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:17 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

GreaterGood has funds for ten different types of charities including animals, literacy, hunger, and rainforests. Any gifts you buy through their partner stores will fund the cause you choose.
posted by irisclara at 7:23 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

As someone in the social work field, I LOVE Thistle Farms based in Nashville. Please take a few minutes to learn about what they're doing, it's pretty a revolutionary therapy model in regard to the ways they trust and love women who have been written off by society. The story behind their "thistle" products is very neat, too.

The Little Market was started by Lauren Conrad to provide very beautiful, very chic goods in a fair trade way that gives back to the female artisans directly. I like Lauren Conrad, but I would chose this one only if you find something really fantastic looking because it may not be as charitable as you're looking for.
posted by rubster at 8:44 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

We just wrapped up our shop fundraising because we only do one main type of item now and production and sales start back in September through November. Really big charities have to do this on a commercial scale to make it cost-effective and the amount that can go directly to help the producers/clients starts to go down.

You have three basic types: 1) the whole thing is inherently tied to a social production - Thistle Farms, maybe Lucky Iron Fish, could be examples. We do christmas ornaments in part bought from other fair trade/charities in our area, and partly made during the training in one of our programmes that provides employment, so the production is also helpful. This is really nice but very few charities have a retailable product. And there's a huge amount of overhead and admin involved, especially if you're small/medium sized.

2) Corporate partnership. Not to be knocked always - this is like RED, where a corporate item gets made, sometimes with a charitable twist to it, and some of the profit is set aside for the charity in exchange for hopefully increased sales or good publicity/branding, or just because the company is trying to be social responsible. This is often much simpler to setup and run, low overheads and can come up to a steady and ongoing relationship with a corporate partner for funding.

3) Items made for charity in a standard business model. They could just as easily be made for any other shop, but they're being sold under a charity's name, to raise funds. This should IMO require that one change for the goodwill they're trading on from customers be that they're showing a higher standard of care to their workers - they're really social enterprises. They need to be providing good pay, good working hours etc. If they're not producing them, they have to show where they're sourcing them from, not just slap a label on them and say well, the profits go to charity so who cares where it came from?

I would pick a corporate partnership really. A very nice etsy or independent shop producer who's partnered with a charity you like and who is pledging x% of the proceeds to the cause.

I'm biased because that's what a couple of our supporters have done, and from a tiny charity POV, they were super easy and effective as funding partners.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:04 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

How about Me To We? You can see their stuff online.
posted by leslievictoria at 6:54 PM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

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