This post is authored by Raquel Romero, Giving Assistant’s People & Business Operations Manager, and mother of our Chief Belly Rub Officer, Ziggy.
Every 3 minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with blood cancer.
This sobering statistic is what drives the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. I got involved with LLS this spring, when my best friend, Lucy Loveless, was nominated for their New York City Woman of the Year.
The Man & Woman of the Year campaign is an intense 10-week fundraising competition conducted by LLS across its chapters nationwide. The man and woman who bring in the highest amount in donations are awarded the prestigious titles. The competition is fierce, so each dedicated candidate assembles a team of friends and family in order to expand their network and earning ability.
Lucy and I met as freshmen at New York University and have been close ever since, but the highlight of our friendship (so far) came in the fall of 2012 when we quit our jobs and moved to Paris. Traveling all over Europe, we cracked ourselves up constantly and took about a million photos for our hashtag #rockelandlucyinparis. But most importantly, we supported each other, kept each other safe, and somehow managed to remain friends while spending almost every waking moment together for nearly four straight months!
LLS’ Man & Woman of the Year campaign harnesses the power of friendships like ours for the benefit of their very worthy cause. Their mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. They’ve invested over $1.2 billion toward this goal since they started in 1949, and the returns have been priceless:
- In the past 18 months, five new therapies for acute myeloid leukemia received approval from the Food & Drug Administration, after 40 years of no change in the standard of care for patients suffering from the disease.
- There is now an oral-based, chemotherapy-free therapy available for the most common form of leukemia in adults, chronic lymphocytic lymphoma, along with small lymphocytic lymphoma.
- Since LLS’ inception, survival rates for many types of blood cancer have as much as quadrupled, and certain blood cancers have been cured altogether.
- Many therapies first approved for blood cancers are now helping patients with other cancers and serious diseases.
It was an easy cause to get behind, and Lucy found 18 additional friends who agreed with me. Together we comprised Team Carpe Diem, a diverse group from all over the country with varying skills and connections that made for an inspiring campaign:
- We hit the ground running—all 20 members of Team Carpe Diem reached out to their networks and pulled in $20,000 in the first 3 weeks!
- We had an amazing workout event at CITYROW in New York, raising $2,200 for the cause.
- We competed in an intense “50 States Challenge,” garnering donations from each of the 50 states (yes, even Hawaii and Alaska) over the course of 3 days!
- We hosted a fabulous Paint-Your-Own-Pottery event in Los Angeles, raising $2,750 in one night.
- We gathered dozens of in-kind donations for auction and raffle items including:
- Goodies from Goop, Sole Society, and CamelBak, to name a few
- VIP tickets to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert
- 5th row seats for a Red Sox/Yankees game at Fenway Park
- Overnight accommodations in Park City, Nashville, Northern Michigan, and the Hamptons
It was a busy 10 weeks, to say the least. Lucy sent so many emails that Gmail flagged her as spam and our team text message thread probably broke a few records.
But in the end, it was all worth it. At the Grand Finale Gala in NYC on June 15th, totals were tallied and Lucy had raised an astounding $151,952 for research and the fight against blood cancer.
Oh, and she WON the title of Woman of the Year!
I am beyond proud of Lucy, but I’m proud of myself too! In partnership with my friend, Christine, I was able to raise $6,427 in just 10 weeks, with more than 10% coming from online shopping through Giving Assistant.
To put Giving Assistant’s contribution into perspective: the NYC Man & Woman of the Year Campaign raised over $1.1 million for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Imagine a 10% increase with online shoppers’ cash back donations. That’s an extra $117,000 to fund the fight against blood cancer.
As peer-to-peer fundraising (like Lucy’s campaign) grows in popularity, Giving Assistant recognizes the important role it will play in furthering our mission to transform everyday shopping into charitable giving. It’s never easy to ask your friends for money, but asking them to donate some of their cash back earnings from online purchases? That’s actually not so hard!
Since 2014, Giving Assistant shoppers have been supporting nonprofits by donating their cash back, with many donations amounting to no more than a few cents. Yet together, they’ve raised more than $4 million for good causes, visibly impacting thousands upon thousands of real lives all over the world.
Taking part in this campaign, and working at Giving Assistant, has taught me that everyone has something of value to offer, no matter how big or small. Our team’s donations ranged from thousands of dollars, to dinners for two, to backpacks, to water bottles, to just 8 cents of cash back.
But it all added up! Not only did Lucy win the Woman of the Year title, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society received over $150,000 in critical funds towards research. And, as we were reminded throughout the 10-week campaign: everyone wins when cancer loses.
To learn more about peer-to-peer fundraising, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To start earning cash back in your everyday online shopping and giving a portion of it to your favorite nonprofit, sign up for Giving Assistant. To help those battling blood cancer, choose Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as your nonprofit of choice through your account settings.
The mission to turn everyday online shopping into charitable giving is a large part of what drives Giving Assistant. Being B Corp Certified, it means a lot to us when we join forces with other brands that share a similar commitment to making a difference in the world. And it means even more when we inspire other for-profit companies to do the same. Not only is cash back earned (and can be donated) when you shop brands that give back, but you’ll also contribute to continuing all of the charitable initiatives they value. So, the next time you do a little shopping online, we ask that you keep some of these giving brands in mind.
Thanks to the company’s One for One® business model, someone in need is helped every time a TOMS’ product is purchased. The company donates a pair of shoes for every pair they sell. Buying TOMS Eyewear contributes to sight-saving surgery. Sip coffee from TOMS Roasting Co. to support clean water initiatives. The TOMS Bags you wear promote safe births worldwide. They even have a bullying prevention program. So far, TOMS customers (like you) and over 100 Giving Partners have enriched the lives of more than 70 million people.
When it comes to high social responsibility standards, Gymboree Group (Gymboree, Janie and Jack, and Crazy 8) definitely leads the pact! It’s easy to squeal over tiny denim overalls or to “ooh” and “aww” over a floral print dress. Yet, behind the doors of fast fashion through out the years, controversial issues have become more and more apparent: abusive work places, negative environmental impact, and unfair wages. Gymboree Group share the belief that they have a massive responsibility to address these issues by enforcing every vendor they partner with to comply with their Terms of Engagement. Their Terms of Engagement ensures their products are being made in an ethical, legal, and responsible manner. A few highlights from their Terms of Engagement that all factories and business partners have to comply with are:
- Minimum working age is 15 years old and running an apprenticeship program for development is strongly encouraged.
- All vendors must ensure that workers who are women receive equal treatment in all aspects of work.
- Working hours should not exceed 60 hours a week and overtime must be voluntary and compensated at a premium rate.
- Workers must receive at least 1 rest day in a 7 day work week.
- Vendors must have a current environmental license and certificate in place and must comply with all environmental laws and regulations applicable to their industry.
And although they know they can’t be at every factory or facility 24/7 to ensure these guidelines are being followed, Gymboree does perform random ongoing assessments and monitoring in the US and Internationally.
UncommonGoods is certainly not your everyday, run-of-the-mill retailer. As a founding B Corporation, the company sells artisan goods made from sustainable and/or recycled materials, ranging from bamboo kitchenware to soapstone art to upcycled fashions. With their Better to Give program, a donation of $1 is given to a participating partner of your choice with every purchase you make. Proceeds from every uniquely crafted piece of merchandise sold by the company adds to the over $1,000,000 already donated since 2001.
Warby Parker not only markets fashionable eyewear with a vintage twist, but also makes a difference with their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. Simply put, purchase a pair of glasses and one pair is donated in return. Collaborating with a handful of local agencies and organizations, the company makes an impact in the classroom with their Pupils Project. Giving the gift of sight and promoting vision care to those in need, students receive free vision screenings, eye exams and prescription glasses. To date, the company has donated more than 3 million pairs of glasses.
Buying a Grade-A cashmere sweater or pair of slim-fit, Japanese denim jeans from Everlane means you’ve supported an enterprise that does good from the inside-out. ‘Radically transparent’ in their cost of labor, materials and transport, the company works with “ethical factories” that pass the test when it comes to paying their workers fair wages and respecting the environment. Everlane also donates profits from special sales and clothing collections to charitable causes, such as human rights champions, the ACLU and Equality Now.
From spreading holiday cheer with toy donations to raising money for a children’s hospital, Honest Co has a serious give-back business outlook. As a certified B Corporation, Honest Co is dedicated to providing baby, beauty and home products that meet specific ethical standards. The company’s Honest to Goodness product donations delivers health care essentials and diapers to thousands of people. When you shop Honest Co, your purchases help fund healthy, safe products, as well as support valuable research and education.
As one of the most diverse marketplaces in the world, artisans and makers from all walks of life have become a part of a booming community that buys and sells handmade and vintage goods. Giving a platform for upcycled and recycled crafts to thrive, Etsy’s commitment to the environment also includes headquarters that support renewable electricity, water conservation, and zero waste operations. And let’s not forget one of their newest, most innovative programs, Etsy Solar, which helps shrink the overall carbon footprint of the marketplace.
Fueled by making “good clothes for a good cause,” Ivory Ella dedicates 10% of annual profits towards saving elephants. One-of-a-kind designs have helped the company donate over $1.3 million to the effort as well as to other charitable causes. The company also gives back through in-kind community donations, charitable sponsorships, employee engagement programs, and donating the proceeds from special clothing collections, such as a Breast Cancer Awareness line. Below is their direct impact from their efforts to date.
With a presence in Mexico, Kenya and Peru, Nisolo produces ethically-made leather goods, handcrafted shoes and jewelry. The company recognizes the importance of eco-business practices and also acknowledges the value of labor. This B Corp Certified company ensures factory employees earn above fair trade wages with full time, sustainable job positions. Nisolo also provides education, training and healthcare to producers. Beyond job creation in underserved communities, Nisolo also pushes for gender equality and donates towards the local economy. Check out their impressive impact report here.
The same department store known for its spectacular parades and fireworks displays is also committed to giving back to the community and environment. Macy’s illuminates stores with energy-saving LED lamps; packages purchases using recycled paper goods; and embraces sustainable clothing brands as a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. The company organizes electronics recycling drives and supports local Green Business Councils. Macy’s associates also donate their time to various green projects, from park clean ups to planting trees.
There’s literally a Build-a-Bear for everyone…and if you’re impressed by their selection, then you’ll be floored by their generosity. The company’s Build-A-Bear Foundation forms numerous charitable partnerships, and has donated more than $50 million in grants to support local organizations. In-kind donations of bears have brightened the day of many children in need of a smile. The Build-A-Bear Associate Volunteer Program also encourages associates to give back locally by offering paid time off for participation in community acts of kindness.
Handcrafted by artisans from around the world, millions of people are proud owners of a colorfully unique Pura Vida bracelet. And, that also means a lot of giving back…because when you purchase from the Charity Collection, you add to the over $1,500,000 that’s already been given to outstanding causes, such as the U.S. Army, Project Heal, and Parkinson’s disease. In addition to spreading awareness and supporting many good causes, the company also provides fair-waged, full-time employment to more than 150 global artisans.
Pay it forward and shop these brands to not only earn cash back and give back to the nonprofit of your choice, but to also contribute towards the above charitable programs and sustainable vision. It’s a win-win-win situation.
Every month we also throw a Double Cash Back, Double Giving Event which doubles your cash back earnings, which automatically doubles your donations! Follow us on social media so you’re always in the loop when our ongoing events are launched. Better yet, download out browser button so you never miss out on a cash back or donation opportunity while shopping online!
We’re on track, more than ever, to transform everyday shopping into charitable giving, which has been Giving Assistant’s top mission since 2014! You helped us accomplish amazing milestones in 2017 and we’re excited to share them with you through our Impact Report. These numbers are proof that real change can happen for real-life causes that impact thousands of lives through consistent, automatic donations from Giving Assistant’s shoppers and the power of community.
The Giving Assistant Team is so excited to conquer our 2018 goals and to see what we can accomplish this year alongside our shoppers and partnered nonprofits! Here are a few examples of how our shoppers’ donations have helped nonprofits create a direct impact.
Hope for Haiti
$10 helps treat 10 patients with Malaria.
Yellow Feather Fund
$10 a month helps cover the cost of developing free apps,
online games, and download activity sheets for children of all ages.
She Should Run
$25 supports a new woman in their Ask a Women to Run program.
Childrens Music Fund
$50 covers one session of music therapy.
Norcal Boxer Rescue
$25 can provide vaccines or one night of boarding for one dog.
To help make a difference today, log into your account settings and search for one of the nonprofits mentioned above or any nonprofit that is registered as a 501(c)(3). From 1% to 100%, you can decide the amount of your cash back earnings you’d like to donate to your selected charitable organization. For reference, check out the image below.
Are you a nonprofit and haven’t signed up with Giving Assistant yet? Check out how you can raise recurring donations for your cause.
It’s no secret that it takes a lot of time to secure donations, especially recurring donations.
During my 7 years of working in marketing for nonprofits, I learned first hand how much strain fundraising can cause. Your whole day is spent pursuing funds from donors and expanding your donor list through various channels. It pays off when you earn support for your mission, but nevertheless, it’s labor intensive.
Additionally, it’s challenging to keep donors engaged and continuously involved in your mission. What I’ve found, is that the best way to engage supporters is through providing them with something that can add value to both your mission and their everyday life.
That is why my co-founders and I built a fundraising tool that could not only benefit nonprofit and charity organizations, but could also benefit their supporters. It’s simple, automatic, and allows your donors to give back to your charity without changing the way they already shop online.
The average American spends over $2,000 annually online, and Giving Assistant shoppers can donate an average of 5.2% of their purchases. That means that with over 100 active online shoppers, an organization can effortlessly raise more than $10,400 annually by partnering with Giving Assistant. And you can count on these donations year after year, because once someone signs up, they almost never stop using it to help the charity they care about.
How it works:
- Retailers pay us a commission for purchases originated from our website or browser extension. Typically a percentage of the sale.
- We pay our members the commission in the form of cash back.
- Members choose to automatically donate any % of their cash back to the charity of their choice.
It’s that simple! And since we work with over 2,800+ of the most popular online retailers, you and your supporters can buy pretty much anything your heart desires while earning money for your cause.
For a 501(c)3 organization, Giving Assistant is a breeze to use and there is virtually no setup involved!
Just follow these quick steps:
1. Go to https://givingassistant.org/nonprofits and search for your nonprofit. (Note: If you cannot find your nonprofit’s name, don’t worry! Simply type in your organization name and then click “Add Your Nonprofit”)
2. Click “Activate Your Account” or, if your organization already has donations, the button will say “Unlock Your $XX in Donations.”
3. Enter a valid email address affiliated with your nonprofit (for example, if you are trying to claim the nonprofit called “Giving Assistant Inc.” you’d use your “@givingassistant.org” email address).
4. We’ll send you a confirmation email from email@example.com. Open this email, and voila! You now have access to your nonprofit dashboard.
5. Complete your Giving Assistant profile (so we can send you checks for your donations).
Once you’re all set up, notify your community and supporters about Giving Assistant and watch your donations grow! Here are a few ways to spread the word:
1. Add the Giving Assistant badge (and/or logo) to your website via the “Best Practices” section in the dashboard.
2. Share your personal fundraising link with your supports via email, newsletters, Twitter, Facebook and any other social media platforms you use.
- Tip: Since people shop all the time, make it easy for them to donate to your organization by post your fundraising link often, not just around the holidays!
3. Try it yourself – Use Giving Assistant when you are making purchases on behalf of your organization and put your cashback right back into your cause. For example, do you need office supplies? Use Giving Assistant when you shop at Staples, Office Depot or any of our other 2,500+ stores!
Several non-profits have already achieved tremendous success by using our free platform. I and the rest of the team at Giving Assistant would love to see you earn more money for your mission and free up time in your busy schedule to get out there and change the world.
So get started with Giving Assistant today!
Thank you for all that you do,
Ryan Quiel, Director of Growth & Product
P.S. Have questions, or want more information about using Giving Assistant to passively fundraise? Feel free to reach out to Isabel, Head of Charity Advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org —she’ll be more than happy to help!
In December of 2016, something incredible happened in West Africa. Something Tostan founder Molly Melching could’ve only dreamed of when she arrived in Senegal over 40 years ago as a young exchange student from Danville, Illinois.
Over 300 communities in four different countries came together to publicly declare a commitment to human rights.
They announced their abandonment of harmful traditions, including the long-standing practice of female genital cutting (FGC) as well as child/forced marriage. This brings the total number of communities who have made similar public declarations to over 8,000; evidence of a movement that has been quietly building in the region over the past two decades, due to community resilience and the efforts of Tostan.
Children hold up chalkboard signs declaring their community’s abandonment of FGC. Source: Tostan
Tostan is a non-profit named for the Wolof word for ‘breakthrough,’
And its unique model focuses on agency, not aid. Operating in six countries, Tostan offers an educational program which has proven that the greatest resources available to struggling communities are the people themselves and their own creative solutions.
In the Tostan program, participants first identify their vision and goals, then they acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to lead and sustain their own development. The Community Empowerment Program uses cultural methods of learning to cover not only the fundamentals of human rights and collective decision-making, but also:
- Health and hygiene,
- Problem solving,
- And confidence building,
And this model has been immensely successful.
In the quarter-century since Tostan’s founding, they have witnessed improvement in issue areas including:
- Women and girl’s empowerment,
- Peace and security,
- And more!
Women participating in a classroom session of Tostan’s program. Source: Tostan
Giving Assistant raises nearly $18,000 for Tostan
Earlier this month, Giving Assistant mailed a check to Tostan for $17,754.58! These funds were raised entirely by Giving Assistant members who have chosen to support the organization through their everyday shopping.
“Supporters of Tostan are part of our global family. Like our communities in West Africa, they form a collective that is joyfully in pursuit of a common goal: dignity for all. We are so thankful that Giving Assistant has joined this family.” – Molly Melching, CEO of Tostan
This generosity will stretch not only across the globe, but for generations to come as rural West African communities continue on their positive path.
Women celebrating. Source: Tostan
Help support this rising movement
Due to its proven success, the Tostan program is in high demand. You can help them meet this demand by using Giving Assistant to easily donate a portion or all of your cash back to the organization.
It’s simple! Just make sure to select Tostan in your account settings and decide how much of your cash back you’d like to donate.
Not a member yet? Sign up here to begin supporting Tostan as you shop (and save!) online.
You’ll never look at a #2 pencil the same way again…
When a small boy’s answer to “What do you want most in the world?” was a mere pencil, the future founder of PoP was utterly touched. For Pencils of Promise, something as simple as a yellow #2 has now come to represent the need to unlock the potential in children that lack a suitable learning environment.
Across the world, 250 million children of elementary school age lack basic reading, writing and math skills. Unsafe, unsanitary and ill-equipped classrooms serve as hurdles for both teachers and students – which is what Pencils of Promise (PoP) wishes to overcome – by building schools and bringing solid educational programming to areas in need.
Pencils of Promise: “We believe every child should have access to quality education.”
Since 2009, PoP’s efforts have led to increased literacy rates, improved training and support for teachers, and better access to quality education for children residing in some of the most underserved communities in the countries where the organization is active.
Today, PoP has a strong presence in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos. So far, nearly 36,000 students have been served by 380 PoP schools, impacting 300,000+ lives in their local communities.
These kids are on their way to their brand new PoP School. Source: Nick Onken
With 85% of communities that PoP visits lacking basic school infrastructure, the organization strives to break ground on a new school every 5 days. In Guatemala, 98% of teachers report increased focus in students learning in a new PoP building. To make sure students are able to benefit from their programs, PoP also implements the internationally recognized WASH program, which promotes healthy water, sanitation, and hygiene practices.
Amongst many achievements in 2016, PoP delivered tablets to three schools in Guatemala, marking their “first-ever expansion of digital reading content in Spanish,” as well as expanded WASH programming to 20 more schools in Laos.
Giving Assistant shoppers have contributed over $53,300 to PoP.
To date, Pencils of Promise has received $53,337 from Giving Assistant shoppers, who use their everyday online purchases to fuel the education of children around the world.
“We love finding new and easy ways for people to support Pencils of Promise,” says Natalie Ebel, PoP’s Director of Marketing. “Giving Assistant is simple and fun, and they’re already almost halfway to funding a full school build with PoP!”
It takes $35,000 to build a school, and since 100% of online donations that PoP receives goes towards their programs, Giving Assistant shoppers are on track to break ground on a new one soon.
Thanks to PoP, these girls have the chance to enjoy learning in a safe, new school. Source: Nick Onken
Help build a new PoP school.
With your contributions through Giving Assistant, not only will you make an impact in the lives of children, but also entire communities.
If you’d like to use Giving Assistant to easily donate a portion or all of your cash back to Pencils of Promise, visit their fundraising page here.
To make sure PoP receives your thoughtful donation, please select Pencils of Promise in your account settings.
Not a member yet? Sign up here to begin supporting Pencils of Promise as you shop online.