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6 Charitable Ways to Satisfy Your Online Shopping Addiction

Online shopping: we all do it. At least, I know that I do. Whether I’m sitting through a particularly boring lecture or avoiding that paper that I’m still hoping will magically write itself, I always seem to find myself with a million open tabs and full electronic shopping carts on all of my favorite websites. There’s no shame in it; it is always fun to treat yourself, but what if you could treat others at the same time? Good news – you can! Here are a few awesome online shops where you can buy some seriously cool stuff that will give at least a portion of the profits to charities across the world!

1. Pura Vida Bracelets 

Pura Vida Bracelets was a project started by two college students from Southern California after a trip to Costa Rica. There, they met two men who sold bracelets in a small village, but after bringing some back to the States to sell, the boys realized that these bracelets were more than bracelets; they were a movement. Now, these bracelets are sold in surf shops, boutiques and a few chain stores around the world. Not only are these bracelets super cute and unique, but they help to provide full time jobs for artisans in Costa Rica as well as support the SurfRider Foundation, a company dedicated to cleaning up beaches around the world. 

2. (RED) 

Now, (RED) isn’t exactly an online shop, it’s more of an empire. You might have already heard of (RED) a few years back when they came out with a line of clothing sold at the Gap, but their reach is impressive. Companies that you may buy things from every day are members of the (RED) movement, including Apple, Starbucks, Bank of America, and even Coca Cola. These companies donate up to 50% of the profit towards fighting AIDS. (RED) has already donated over $250 million dollars to the Global Fund and impacted the lives of over 40 million people. 

3. TOMS 

You probably know about TOMS, too. This company was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, after a trip to Argentina opened his eyes to the fact that even necessities like shoes are considered a luxury. TOMS follows a theory of theirs called One for One, meaning that for every pair of shoes that you buy, a pair is given to a child in need. What you might not know though is that TOMS has greatly expanded their brand. In 2011 they developed an eyewear line to help restore eyesight to those who cannot afford glasses. And just recently, in 2014, TOMS launched a line of premium coffee, the proceeds from which go towards providing clean water sources to developing communities.

4. Nomi Network 

The Nomi Network as inspired by the story of a young girl who survived sexual exploitation ins Cambodia. The Network fights sex trafficking by attacking it at the root cause: poverty. So, they focus on women who are vulnerable to sex trafficking and provide them with the skills and training to produce the beautiful products seen on the site. Profits go towards expanding this effort and hiring more at risk women and survivors. The goods available from Nomi Network include bags, accessories and t-shirts. 

5. Global Goods Partners 

This organization is all about fair trade. As a completely nonprofit organization, Global Goods Partners gives 100% of proceeds back to its partners. These partners are groups who use the sale of their handcrafted items to improve and develop their communities. These groups include women, indigenous peoples, and the impoverished. GGP ensures fair living wage standards and working conditions for each of its partners. Anything from bags, scarves and jewelry to house wares and stationary are available through GGP. 

6. LUSH

LUSH is a cosmetics company that gives 100% of the proceeds from their Charity Pot towards animal rights, environmental causes, and humanitarian enterprises. Their brand is based on ethical buying, meaning that all ingredients used to produce their products are vegetarian, preservative free, organic, not tested on animals, and come from suppliers who provide safe and healthy work environments for their employees – and that’s just scratching the surface. This company makes all of their own products and fragrances and supports grassroots funds all over the world. They make products for your hair, face, body and showering needs. So far they’ve given almost 5 million dollars to 400 grassroots charities in 35 countries!

Happy shopping, Collegiettes!

Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

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Emma Haskell

U Mass Amherst

Sophomore at UMass Amherst studying Public Health and Psychology
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