Shopping with a Purpose


By Jasmine Turner

Giving back has changed thanks to cause-driven companies and marketing. This trend continues to grow and impact lives worldwide.

Remember when TOMS Shoes first hit the market? I can’t speak for everyone, but I was extremely excited. Finally, there was a comfortable shoe that I didn’t have to sacrifice wearing due to the style. But my excitement shot through the roof when I found out that every time I buy a pair of TOMS, the company also gives a pair to someone in need. Ever since that day I bought my first pair of TOMS, I’ve made it my business to shop with a purpose and at businesses that give back not just to people in my community but also to people worldwide. Businesses that have this type of corporate social responsibility (CSR) built into their foundations speak volumes not just to me but to other millennials. In fact, more than nine in 10 millennials say they are likely to switch to brands that are associated with a good cause (Cone Communications, 2015).

I know shopping with a purpose may sound like hard work, but it is fairly simple, and anyone can do it, even from the comfort of your home. As times change and companies work toward becoming socially conscious, ask yourself, “Am I doing my part to give back?” If the answer is no, you may want to keep these tips in mind when you shop.

Do Your Research

With any lifestyle change, it’s best to do your research before diving in. There are so many amazing companies that give back to the community or to specific causes; I wish I had enough money to shop at all of them. To ensure that you spend your money wisely, learn as much as you can about the companies you buy from, and determine whether they match your consumer needs and your giving heart. Some philanthropic retailers to consider include Warby Parker, Ivory Ella, Amazon, and Lush.

Harness Your Purchasing Power

When cashiers ask if you want to make a charitable donation with your purchase, you may want to take them up on the offer. Many retailers—such as Kohl’s and Macy’s—also give a portion of the profits from sales of specific products to charitable causes. In 2015, Macy’s donated approximately $5.9 million to Go Red For Women, the American Heart Association’s campaign for awareness and prevention of heart disease in women, through its Wear Red promotion and Thanks For Sharing holiday rewards program (Macy’s, n.d.).

Build a Culture of Giving

Challenge your friends, family, and colleagues to join you on your giving quest. Remember that sharing is caring. After you make your purchase and receive your product, share your shopping experience with friends and on social media. You may be surprised by the influence you have on encouraging others to support retailers and causes they care about.

Before you make your next purchase, ask yourself, “How does this company give back?”

Cone Communications. (2015). New Cone Communications research confirms millennials as America’s most ardent CSR supporters, but marked differences revealed among this diverse generation. Retrieved from
Macy’s Inc. (n.d.). Cause-related programs. Retrieved from

Jasmine Turner is a native Washingtonian and a recent graduate of Marymount University with a degree in communications. She currently works as Communication Coordinator for Council of Better Business Bureaus, where she creates consumer and business content while also working on new channels to further produce new content.