You’ve already seen the holiday commercials and the arrival of glitter and tinsel-covered in-store displays. Now, with Thanksgiving-induced comas behind us, the season of shopping has officially begun. From frenzied Black Friday sales through New Years Eve, retailers across the country will continue to pull out all the stops to welcome us into their biggest, busiest season.

Now we know it’s easy to let the all-out shopping frenzy take over — and maybe even distract us from what truly inspires us to give gifts in the first place: because we care for others. So, if you’re going to shop, why not also make a difference in the world at large by buying from a company that promotes fair trade practices or donates part of your purchase towards helping others.

Here are some great resources to help you shop with a purpose, and give back for every gift you give:

  • ebay’s World of Good lets you shop from the global marketplace and helps your purchases make a positive impact.
  • GoodShop lets you search and shop for just about anything, while donating to your favorite cause or charity.
  • Gap’s Red campaign donates 50% of sales of specially-designated Red products to The Global Fund to finance health and HIV community support programs in Africa.
  • Helpingly donates 2% of your online shopping to the charity of your choice, at no additional cost to you.
  • iGive is a tiny addition to your browser that automatically tells over 900 participating stores that you want your shopping to support your favorite cause or charity.
  • OneCause is an online retail outlet that puts a portion of your purchasing dollars towards the charity or school of your choice.
  • Ten Thousand Villages makes and sells beautiful, fair-trade crafted products and gifts that directly support the artisan or artists’ collective that made them.
  • TOMS famously donates a pair of shoes (and now eyeglasses) to people in need for every pair you buy. Meanwhile, the shoe company BucketFeet donates a portion of your shoe purchase to kids charities. (check out Repair the World’s interview with their founder Aaron Firestein here.)
  • NeedsforSale was started as a way to inspire others to help charities with the incentive of art. Each painting represents a need that we would like to fill. 100% of each sale will be donated to charity.
  • We-Care.com helps you “shop with a purpose” by giving back part of the money you spend shopping or booking travel to a cause, school or association of your choice.
Jewish tradition reminds us to think about the needs of others, even as we do something for ourselves. This shopping season, when you’re thinking about what others might want or need– take a minute to consider what you’re doing for the world at large.
Happy serving…