The ‘Social’ Season of Giving

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:

  1. The economy bleeps
  2. I have my job and health
  3. 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 {complink 12888|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.

Happy Holidays

16 comments on “The ‘Social’ Season of Giving

  1. Barbara Jorgensen
    December 9, 2011

    I'm happy to be the first one to comment on this blog. Thanks for sharing all of these links and continually educating me, at least, on social media. The companies cited here do make lots of money, but they also give back. I know of many electronics companies that are very active in charity organizations in their locales. Kudos to all

  2. Susan Fourtané
    December 9, 2011


    It's nice to have collected some of the companies that are giving back to society. 

    Speaking of collecting, I intend to collect that James Bond pack, so, where is the holiday puzzle on Twitter, or it is only on Facebook? 


    December 9, 2011

    Thanks for the article.  It is good to see what other companies are doing and spurring me on to get more active with my own company to see what we are doing in this area.

  4. Barbara Jorgensen
    December 9, 2011

    Hey Andy–is the consolation prize a Specialist bobble-head?


  5. alawson
    December 9, 2011

    @Susan Fourtané — Hi Susan. Sorry for the delay. This post went up earlier than I expected. Efficiency of EBN is awesome!  The Twitter puzzle can be found at: — Just played it on my phone. Very challenging.

    Here are the other ways to enter:


  6. alawson
    December 9, 2011

    @Barbara — Ha! You know, I think it depends on how many people play 🙂  only one of the prizes is based on score. The other two are to reward Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Many times, skill contests are overwhelmed by professionals or those with too much time on their hands, so we wanted to have both elements. (Also, pay no attention to the name at the top of the leaderboard on Facebook right now…that guy definitely has too much time on his hands…)

  7. Susan Fourtané
    December 9, 2011

    Thanks, Andy! 🙂 

    As a good James Bond movies fan challenging is not a problem for me. Perfect entertainment for the weekend. 😀 


  8. SunitaT
    December 12, 2011

    @Andy,  Thanks for the post. It's really heartening to know that so many companies are actively involved in philanthrophy. I will try to retweet and repost those messages so that I can do my bit.

  9. alawson
    December 12, 2011

    @tirlapur – Glad to hear it. I got to see some of these in action this week. Checked in at Macy's on Foursquare and sent a letter to Santa. I love that they can make campaigns that take so little effort and time but on a large scale can make huge impact. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

  10. Nemos
    December 12, 2011

    I love Christmas because I can feed the child who is living inside me. However, I have to say that all the companies “invest” on Christmas because a lot of income comes during that period. So donations as you described before, it used as a Marketing tool.

  11. Daniel
    December 13, 2011

    Andy, it’s again a holiday season and gifting moments. In our current economic situations, it’s always better to prefer to say a “Big Thanks” or e-greetings. This year I would like to depend on e-greetings more than physical gifts because of my week financial health.

  12. Anne
    December 13, 2011

    This is an act of giving, an act of touching the life of those in needs and the less privileged, that is the reason for the season.  But has to be extended beyond being seasonal, I think it has to be at all time.

  13. jbond
    December 13, 2011

    I think that one of the great things that comes with the holidays is the donations to complete strangers and people in need. My husband and I always make sure we give, particularly to the animals, since they seem like they are forgotten about the most and need help since they can't survive without us. Social media has definitely helped by spreading the word that would otherwise go unheard.

  14. Mr. Roques
    December 15, 2011

    Not to be 'Grinch' type here, but can someone explain the economic aspect of those decisions? I know there's a CSR aspect but I'm sure it's not the only motivation.

    How do tax breaks work, etc?

  15. mario8a
    December 30, 2011

    Every time i read about a company donating money I can't help thinking about tax purposes, it doesn't matter as long as they help who really needs it?

  16. Kunmi
    December 31, 2011

    It doesn't involve too much thinking. You are very right….”tax benefit”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.