It's December 9, and there is a tree growing in my living room. The dogs are confused, and the lighting is a little bit off due to the twinkling LEDs on the branches. It's the holiday season once again, and I'm trying to figure out what happened to the year.
On the surface, I see three takeaways:
- The economy bleeps
- I have my job and health
- Others all around me do not
It's the last of these that I am thinking about tonight; searching for ways to dig in and give back. And if there is one thing that I have learned over the last few years, it's that social shines around the holidays. Not just the sharing of fun links and games and "Elf-yourself" distractions from work, but in the ease with which stories of hope and of need are spread to the masses.
Companies are a large part of the giving season, motivating their employees to help the less fortunate and providing campaigns that make it easy for employees and customers alike to take part in philanthropic initiatives. I believe that it is the mobilization effort that is the hardest, and companies daily take the helm in providing the structure around a giving campaign. Here at TTI Inc. there are Toys for Tots bins everywhere you look. And they're full. It's been wonderful to a see strong company culture band together for a cause.
In the spirit of sharing, I thought I would share a few of the social good holiday campaigns that have elements of sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and even QR Codes.
Some companies are already far ahead using social media for good, having completed campaigns over the Thanksgiving holiday. JC Penney, for instance, donated $50 to the Salvation Army for every Angel adoption from its virtual tree. On top of that, on Black Friday, the company donated $25 for every customer who checked in at its stores on Foursquare.
Macy's, always one to show its colors during the holidays, developed a site and Facebook page supporting its "A Million Reasons to Believe" campaign, where it donates $1 to the Make a Wish Foundation for every letter written to Santa. Like JC Penney, Macy's did not overlook the rise of location-based services -- partnering with Foursquare and Aflac to give $1 to charity for every check-in at a store.
The ASPCA would never forget pets in need around the coldest months, and so it's sponsoring a "Fighting Cruelty this Holiday" campaign on Facebook that allows for donations from your page to theirs and posts badges identifying you as a supporter of the cause.
Luxury car player Lexus, as part of its "December to Remember" event, is supporting Toys for Tots by pledging $5 for every Facebook share of its big red bow or for tweeting on the hashtag, #LexusBigRedBow.
Online sales giant eBay has also partnered with Toys for Tots, donating 1 percent of sales prices on items purchased through the eBay Toys for Tots portal.
Daily Deal player Living Social launched its "Banish the Grinch" campaign as part of its "12 Days of Giving" in December. It's made it easy on us all, donating 1 percent of proceeds to charity for every purchase made from December 5 to 17. Sign up for deals by clicking here.
Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund have teamed up once again in an effort to save the Polar Bear, this time with convenience store mainstay 7-Eleven, offering a QR Code-initiated game on Facebook that allows players to accumulate points they can use to make donations to the World Wildlife fund. Coca Cola will then match the donations at the end of the year, up to $1 million.
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. Maybe you have seen others you'd like to share here. What socially enabled holiday giving campaigns have you seen lately? What did you think of them? Share your thoughts here.
On behalf of the Social Group here at TTI, have a safe and happy holiday season. And for a fun holiday distraction, we're giving away James Bond DVD prize packs on Facebook and Twitter for playing our Holiday Puzzle. Log on and see if you can beat The Specialist.