How Twitter Can Make You a More Ethical Holiday Shopper


Like it or not, ‘tis the season for lots (and lots) of holiday shopping.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could harness at least some of that consumerism to help benefit environmental and social causes?

Cause marketing guru Olivia Khalili believes we can.

Earlier this month, Khalili launched iGiveTwice, an online Twitter campaign designed to encourage people to choose gifts that have social or environmental benefits.

After all, stop and think about it for a minute. When you go out shopping, you usually have plenty of choices, right?  So, why not choose a gift that is

  • ethically sourced, or
  • naturally grown, or
  • fair-wage and fair-trade, or
  • one that donates a portion of its sales?

If you do, you’ll actually be giving twice –once to the person who receives the gift, and a second time to the environmental or social cause the product is helping to promote.

Simple, isn’t it? But, don’t stop there.

Once you have made your “purchase with a purpose,” as Khalili calls it, she hopes you’ll do one more thing: Tweet about it, using the hashtag #iGiveTwice. The simple act of letting your Twitter followers know about your gift choice will help build awareness about the growing power consumers have to affect positive change, Khalili says.

It’s an uncomplicated and nearly effortless campaign. But, Khalili feels iGiveTwice can have a significant impact, thanks to the reach of social media.

“The main function with iGiveTwice is to raise awareness and change the way people shop,” she says. “Collectively, we can make a difference.”

To help kick-off the iGiveTwice initiative, Khalili teamed up with the non-profit, where Twitter users can enter to win a 16GB iPod (PRODUCT) RED  –a fitting prize choice since Apple gives a portion of the purchase price from every (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition iPod to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa.

An iPod (PRODUCT) RED is one example of a gift that gives twice, but there are plenty of others, too. In fact, Khalili says that compared to a few years ago when she created Cause Capitalism, it’s much easier now to find products that have a social or environmental benefit.

“The do-gooder products really have made the transition from granola to mainstream,” she explains.

If you need a few ideas to get you started, Khalili suggest you consider these:

Recently recommended products on iGiveTwice:

  • Naumes Fruit Gifts donates 1 pound of fresh fruit to a food bank for every pound you purchase.
  • Timbuk2’s (PRODUCT) RED special edition optic print messenger bag. 5% of sales from the product are donated to the Global Fund to fight AIDS.
  • ONEHOPE wine donates 50% of profits to AIDS, Autism, Breast Cancer, Troops or the Planet based on the varietal purchased. $250,000 has been given to more than 150 charities.
  • Kate Spade Colorblock Mittens are handmade by Bosnia war survivors through a partnership with Women for Women International.

Resources for Gifts that give back:

  • (Com)Passionate Valentine’s Day Gifts, Olivia Khalili for
  • eBay’s World of Good marketplace has more than 22,000 products that empower individuals and support social and environmental causes.

Although she launched iGiveTwice during the holiday shopping season, Khalili intends to keep the campaign running year-round.

“Cause capitalism is the way to affect positive change,” she says. “And I think something like iGiveTwice shows that it doesn’t necessarily have to take a big effort to make a difference.”


Earlier today, Khalili announced that iGiveTwice is partnering with and eBay Giving Works to encourage people to choose gifts that give back. Now, every time you tweet:

I raised $1 for @Heifer by tweeting this gift idea [link of product on site] from @WorldofGood_com Join me #iGiveTwice! Start now


I raised $1 for @Heifer by tweeting this gift idea [include link of product on site] on @eBayGiving Join me #iGiveTwice! Start now

$1 will be donated to the nonprofit Heifer International until 2,500 tweets ($2,500) are reached.

I suppose that means that this holiday season, people who use Twitter can purchase one gift and actually give three times!

As a corporate content specialist and a ghostwriter for C-level executives, Kathryn's work appears at Forbes, Industry Week and other leading trade publications and websites. She focuses on topics related to science, business sustainability, supply chain risk management and marketing. Find out more about Kathryn at . You can follow Kathryn on Twitter: @CorpWriter4Hire.

6 responses

  1. Kathy, thanks for helping to get the word out–shopping for change is easy with the fantastic products now on the market. Americans spent $470 billion on holiday gifts last year. Imagine the impact if *only* 10% of the amount is donated to a social or environmental causes or 15% is purchased from people who are paid a fair wage.

    Tweet your favorite gift that gives twice with #igivetwice and we'll feature it on and you'll trigger a $1 donation to Heifer International from @WorldofGood_com and @eBayGiving.

  2. Freedom and Fashion ( is proud to be promoting iGiveTwice, a brilliant campaign! For more iGiveTwice type products, please shop Freedom and Fashion Partners:

    Not For Sale [STORE]


    Liberty in North Korea


    The Tag Bag

    Malia Designs

    My Definicion

    Nightlight Jewelry


    Stewart + Brown


    Don't forget to become a FACEBOOK FAN of Freedom and Fashion and Follow us on twitter: @FREEDOMnFASHION

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