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Trivia time: Which is bigger?
1. The amount of money the U.S. government spent on K-12 education in 2017
2. The amount of money Americans spent on holiday shopping in 2017
Prepare to let out a big, fat “yikes.” In 2017, the U.S. budget for education was $69.4 billion. Meanwhile, Americans spent a whopping $1 trillion on holiday shopping between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That’s enough money to send 8.3 million people to a 4-year college. Enough to buy every San Fransisco resident an apartment. Enough to literally purchase Apple.
What we’re saying is: That’s a lot of dough.
Of course, giving and receiving gifts is awesome and makes you warm and fuzzy inside — no one is disagreeing with that. And we are the last ones to weigh any objections to spending money and getting good deals wherever we can find them. But there’s also a dark cloud hovering over that ginormous pile of cash we’e spending. In 2016, 60% of all online sales went to 10 of the biggest retailers, none of which has a proactive social mission. Welp.
Listen: There’s no shame in the shopping game. We need to buy stuff, you need to buy stuff, and, hell, we love helping you make those purchases! But there’s something to be said for the occasional moment of mindfulness.
Enter Shop For Good Sunday. Known as “the day to shop with companies that do good for people and the planet,” this special shopping day lands on Nov. 25 — smack dab in the midst of the “Cyber Five,” which is what people are now calling the span of time between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. The special shopping day aims not only to give people a way to spend their holiday shopping money on brands that make the world better, but also doubles as a massive charity that donates 100% of its revenue to people who need it most. Now that seems like true holiday spirit.
Now, we’re not about to completely abandon the big guys — we love a good tech deal as much as you do, and many times, those are the only places to get big ticket items or the year’s biggest toys. But with over 125 brands participating in Shop For Good Sunday this year (that’s more than double the number of brands from 2017), you should be able to find a perfect gift for at least one person on your list. On top of that, many brands participating are offering promotions to give buyers “Shop4Good” discounts. The site has even defined categories like best gifts for her, best gifts for him, popular gifts, gifts under $50, and more to help get you organized — because there are a lot of options. Candles, bedding and pillows, jewelry, home decor, and clothing are just a few of the unique things up for grabs.
There’s a lot to like about Shop for Good Sunday, but we particularly love that 100% of the revenue made on Nov. 25 (whether that be from the Shop for Good Sunday gift shop, the DoneGood shop, or through the DoneGood plugin) will be donated to RAINN, America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. So in addition to purchasing a gift for your nearest and dearest, you’re also giving the gift of helping survivors, educating the public, and improving policies. Really, it’s the gift of a brighter future.
The initiative is powered by DoneGood, a public benefit corporation (B-corp) co-founded by Cullen Schwartz and Scott Jacobsen in 2016. It aims to bring socially and environmentally responsible brands to consumers to divert their money to merchants that do the right thing. DoneGood works in tandem with charities and non-profit organizations like Oxfam America and Be One Percent (both working to end poverty) to spotlight eco-friendly, cruelty-free, fair trade, and other socially responsible products to help people feel good about where their dollars are going. DoneGood also encourages buyers to support local community businesses that they know use eco-friendly practices and pay living wages.
If thousands of us choose to spend a few of our dollars at retailers that have the public’s interest in mind, Schwartz believes we can make the most wonderful time of the year also the most impactful. In a post on B the Change, Schwartz writes:
“We started DoneGood because we genuinely believe the dollars we spend are the world’s most powerful force for change. Consumer spending is 70 percent of the economy. And it’s a supply-and-demand economy, so we all have total power—whatever we demand, the market supplies. The more we demand worker empowerment, living wages, eco-friendly practices, and other good stuff, the more the market supplies those things.”
As sustainable food advocate Anna Lappé says, “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the type of world that you want.” Shop For Good Sunday makes it easier than ever to support the companies that do good for people, animals, and the planet. Enter your email address, avoid the in-store stampedes, and start changing the world (while simultaneously becoming the best gift giver in the family) here.
Disclosure: Mashable is a Shop for Good media partner, but we earn no affiliate revenue through the initiative. We just think it’s a really awesome cause.