Give Good: Everybody’s Doing It

By Allison McGuire

Giving good (aka donating to charity, volunteering, etc.) creates a euphoric chemical reaction in the brain known as the ‘helper’s high’*. That’s why you feel satisfied after taking time out of your busy week to support Hurricane Sandy relief or ladle soup with the homeless women’s shelter across the street.

The holidays are a perfect time for everyone to give back to local communities and favorite causes. From #GivingTuesday to ‘Secret Santa for Good’, there are myriad opportunities to get involved.

Consider giving good this season

Instead of scouring the web for the perfect book for your niece, or braving the mall headache for a deal on some Christmas socks, send charity gift cards to your loved ones. You choose the amount, they choose the cause. It’s a unique and meaningful gift for everyone on your list. When they redeem their prepaid donation with the cause closest to their heart, they’ll think of you. Remember the power of that ‘helper’s high’!

Seek out Companies that do Good

This may come as a surprise, but many companies are incorporating cause in their business models. Why? Reasons range from higher employee retention to increased customer loyalty. There are some compelling stats around cause being associated with corporate brands, and, as ‘tis the season of giving, consumers and employees alike are especially interested in feel-good events.

Don’t just take my word for it—the proof is in the pudding! According to recent research by Cone, Inc., nearly 90% of consumers want companies to support causes at the holidays and almost ¾ of employees wish their company would do more to support causes.

While corporate cause campaigns occur throughout the year, the holiday season is the perfect time for companies to spend remaining marketing budgets and/or philanthropic dollars.

Good-natured competitions

Last December, Mozilla Firefox sponsored an end-of-the-year giving challenge (hosted on our partner CrowdRise’s crowdfunding site), pitting celebrities against each other to determine who had the most charitable following. Nearly 100 charities participated and a dozen celebrities competed for the grand prize—a $25K donation to the participant that raised the most money. In just a few weeks, over half a million dollars was raised. This campaign was successful because it tapped into their audience’s generosity, and gave them easy, interactive tools to get involved. Due to the success of last year’s campaign, Mozilla and CrowdRise have  reprised the event this year.

Making a difference, locally

During the holidays, Chrysler flexes their corporate giving muscle through an annual food drive. The auto giant proves they care about their employees (see: giving them election day off) and their community by providing Thanksgiving meals to those in need. They engage with local nonprofits to disburse food.

You can do it too. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to get involved in these holiday campaigns. Check out the following corporate cause campaigns worth joining.

·       Coca-Cola’s Arctic Home™ campaign with the World Wildlife Federation

·       Mozilla Firefox Challenge hosted on CrowdRise

·       Macy’s Believe campaign featuring Make a Wish® 


*Helper’s High:  (noun): 1. The feeling of euphoria that people report after giving to charity  2. An activated psychological state induced by charitable activity


Allison McGuire is the Partnerships Program Associate for Network for Good. You can read more of her posts at Companies for Good or follow her on twitter @Allison McGuire.

image: By Isaías Alves da Cruz via Wikimedia Commons