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Shopping For A Cause

by Andy | March 27th, 2023

Shopping is fun, whether you experience on-site shopping or enjoy online shopping. After COVID-19, online shopping is trending worldwide. It allows shoppers to purchase their favorite item from anywhere at any time without getting into the hassle of driving to the store or waiting in line for payment. Besides, online shopping enables supporters to “shop for a cause” by giving back directly to their favorite nonprofits.


In this article, we will briefly discuss the ways that enable shopping for a cause.

What Is Shopping For A Cause?


“Shopping for a cause” has different, similar terms like “philanthropic shopping”, “shopping for good”, “shop-raising” etc. It implies the process of purchasing goods to benefit a nonprofit organization or a charity mission.


More specifically, most fundraisers behind the shopping for a cause mission make supporters contribute through their normal purchases; they do otherwise. This means shoppers can still enjoy sales and other discounts despite supporting a cause. The contributions from shopping-related fundraising come from retailer supporters buying it at no additional cost to supporters.

Most Popular Ways to Shop For A Cause


There are many ways in which non-profits can ask you to ask for your support.


1.Shop at a store that donates: As shoppers have started shopping for a cause, retailers have committed to supporting good causes. Many businesses, through their corporate social responsibility programs, release annual reports and mission statements about their associations with good causes. In this way, they encourage shoppers to carry on giving donations to continue their share for a good cause. Many stores donate a share of their earnings to a good cause.


Pros of shopping at a cause from a store that donates:

  • If a store you regularly visit is donating to a cause, you don't need to go out of your way to shop.


  • Researching multiple stores' philanthropic policies takes much of your time.
  • You don't have a choice but to support a specific nonprofit you like, as many stores are supporting large nonprofits.
  • Some stores have restricted products associated with their charitable causes or amounts they can give back within a specific timeframe.


2. Shop at a non-profit or charity store: Instead of running their missions, through donations, some nonprofits partner with e-commerce platforms and sell branded t-shirts, mugs, hats, and other stuff related to their cause. Some nonprofits also sell their unique merchandise during fundraising and other events. In this way, all of their profit goes directly toward the organization’s mission. 


The benefit of shopping directly from non-profits:

  • You know exactly what organization you are supporting instead of letting a retailer decide it for you. 
  • Due to the availability of online stores, you can be more confident that the nonprofit you buy from is receiving money from them. 
  • Instead of donating a fraction of your total purchase to the organization, buying directly from nonprofits ensures they receive a major chunk of your money.


On the other hand, some disadvantages of buying from charity organizations and nonprofits are:

  • These stores are not well-known brands; hence, they offer only a small variety of items, many of which are not even on your weekly shopping list.
  • In most cases, you need to do prior research to see what kind of stuff they are offering and also go out of your way to find a nonprofit.

3. Buy one, get one free brand: 


One-for-one brands are brands that go beyond the standard philanthropic programs. You need to purchase from such stores if you are shopping for a cause. Many brands are doing this: buy one, give one offer, where for every unit of product sold, they donate another one to a needy person. Some names doing this kind of work are:

  • Toms: They are donating a pair of shoes to needy children for every pair purchased.

  • Sackcloth & Ashes: The company has blankets made from eco-friendly and 100% recycled material. For every blanket sold, they donate one to the homeless.

  • Mable: They sell sustainable alternatives to everyday items, including bamboo toothbrushes. For every toothbrush Mable sells, the company donates one to a child in the U.S., besides teaching schools about personal hygiene.

  • Warby Parker: For every pair of their glasses sold, they donate another pair to someone in need around the world.

  • Dog for Dog: They keep dogs healthy by selling all-natural, grain-free dog food. That’s why for every Dog for Dog item purchased, the same item is donated to a shelter to help a dog in need.


These are a few examples of many buy-one-give-one brands. Pros of one-for-one brands:

  • These brands let shoppers buy the same items for themselves as the ones donated to others. So, the giving process is clear.
  • Items from such brands are often sold online or at well-known retailers; this provides convenience for shoppers.


Some disadvantages of one-for-one brands

  • Only a few brands are giving this one-for-one offer, and that too for a limited amount of items.
  • While many non-profits appreciate goods donations, other organizations prefer monetary support.


4. Buy charity-related products: There is another situation where you can do your shopping for a cause by buying charity-specific products from a store. Sometimes, for-profit businesses partner with nonprofits to develop products that benefit a charitable cause. By purchasing such items, a percentage of your purchase goes to nonprofits.


For instance, during Earth Day week, a jewelry brand launches a specific kind of bracelet made from recycled plastic. Each time someone buys one of these bracelets, a portion( 10-20%) of the proceeds is donated to the nonprofit partner, who is working on a mission to remove plastic from the ocean. 


Advantages of buying charity-related products:

  • The items are easy to find in common retail stores.
  • Many charity-specific products are common products, such as clothing or accessories, that shoppers intend to purchase.



  • Brands often develop charity-specific products on a seasonal basis, which means you won’t always find products in line with your shopping needs.
  • You need to confirm through research that the products you are buying are aligned with a charitable cause.


5. Using a charitable credit card


These credit cards allow you to do the shopping for a cause, as you can always donate a percentage of all of your purchases to a nonprofit. As most other credit cards allow shoppers to earn points or cash-back rewards on their purchases, charitable credit cards donate these accumulated rewards to nonprofits.



  • At any retailer that accepts that type of card, you can donate a share of your purchase to nonprofits.
  • These credit cards usually work both for online and in-store purchases.


  • Applying for a charitable credit card can be a hassle.
  • Often, these cards don’t allow you to choose a nonprofit, and they give your share to the largest organizations.


Wrapping it up


There are plenty of ways you can choose how to do “shopping for a cause”, but whatever you select, it's a win-win situation. As a supporter, you might be surprised to see how many organizations you can support through shopping for a cause.