Travel Gift Ideas

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Summer’s here, and that means vacation is too! Why not customize a unique travel accessory for your clients to use on their next trip? Not only are these products handmade, they’re socially responsible as well; your purchase supports causes like empowering impoverished women, providing free education for children of the artisans, and providing job training and support for homeless and at-risk youth. Stand out from the crowd and make a difference in someone’s life by choosing a unique, socially responsible item to promote your business.

FIVE-BAGTAG-ALLCOLORSLuggage Tag – Retail: $12.00

Dress your luggage for your next destination with these beautiful and rugged luggage tags handmade from netting under fair trade labor practices in Cambodia. The purchase of this product provides income, dignity, and hope to the artisans and their families and free daycare and preschool for their children. Fair Trade.


FIVE-TRAVPASSPORT-GRNPassport Travel Wallet – Retail: $32.00

Keep travel documents and important papers together in this stylish pouch handmade from netting under fair labor practices in Cambodia. Features include snap closure and two zippered pockets. The purchase of this product provides income, dignity, and hope to the artisans and their families and free daycare and preschool for their children. Fair Trade.


FIVE-TRAVBUDDY-AllColorsTravel Buddy Organizer – Retail: $38.00 

Prepare for your next trip with this folding organizer handmade from netting under fair trade labor practices in Cambodia. Features include multiple transparent and net pockets as well as a loop for hanging. The purchase of this product provides income, dignity, and hope to the artisans and their families and free daycare and preschool for their children. Fair Trade.



Tea & Tin Travel Set – Retail: $14.00

Each travel set contains one Lemon Tea 2 oz. travel-sized eco-friendly soy candle and two pods of Lemon Tea scented bath teas. This product is handmade by employees at Bright Endeavors, the social enterprise for New Moms. Inc. Bright Endeavors provides a job-development training program for homeless and at-risk young mothers between the ages of 17 and 24. Fair Wage, Green, Made in the USA. 



Matea Weekender – Retail: $328.00

Handmade by Guatemalan artisans, the Matea Weekender combines traditional stripes with intricate hand-woven brocade. Features include inner and outer pockets, a detachable strap, and macramé pompom details. Accented with nickel hardware and 100% cotton. The purchase of this product provides basic necessities such as nutritious meals for Mercado Global’s women cooperative members and their families, as well as schooling for their children. Fair Trade.

Ben & Jerry’s Tweets for World Fair Trade Day 2011

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Mix Ben & Jerry’s with World Fair Trade Day and Twitter and you’ve got yourself one delicious socially-responsible sundae. The creative brains behind Ben & Jerry’s social mission have done it again! Their newest initiative allows Twitter users to “put their unused Twitter characters to good use.”

The Fair Tweets campaign automatically inserts a Fair Trade message at the end of a user’s tweet to spread awareness about World Fair Trade Day on May 14. It’s a pretty cool concept! To join the fun, simply visit their website (, type in your Tweet and they automatically fill in the rest! In our example below, we typed the black message and they filled in the rest with the green message.

Unfamiliar with World Fair Trade Day? It’s an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization and is supported by thousands of citizens, Fair Trade Organizations, social and environmental movements, producers and consumers all around the planet.

On May 14, millions will celebrate World Fair Trade Day. This year’s theme is “Trade for People – Fair Trade Your World.” It encompasses the need to put people and the environment at the heart of trade and consumption.

The World Fair Trade Organization is the global network of Fair Trade Organizations around the planet. It represents more than 400 Fair Trade Organizations from more than 70 countries with highest geographical outreach.

What are you doing to celebrate? Leave a comment and let us know!

Ping Pong for Social Good?

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How are tech geeks using the game of ping pong to inspire a social good initiative?

A group called TechiesGiveBack, a nonprofit that looks for ways the tech community could give back, launched an event called BackSpin2011. The idea was to raise money for a charity organization called Child’s Play. No, not the creepy Chuckie movies. Child’s Play is a non-profit organization that provides books, games and video game consoles to hospitals across the country.

So what was BackSpin 2011?

Using Xbox’s Kinect, TechiesGiveBack provided a fun atmosphere with their ping pong tournament. Several tech companies around the NYC area took part in the action, including, Google, The New York Times and Foursquare. Some of the players competed on team levels while a few competed individually. In addition to the virtual table tennis game, TechiesGiveBack also provided an open bar, MCs from CollegeHumor and even some crazy costumes in the mix. Using a virtual tournament provided a more level playing field for everyone involved than hosting a real ping pong tournament.

Was the event a success? Absolutely. The half party/half networking event raised $12,000 for Child’s Play. Who says helping out can’t be fun? More info about the tournament can be found at Mashable.


Bieber Gives Back

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Note: Subscribers may need to click through to see the above video

It may be annoying to keep hearing about him and the hair may too much for some. The truth remains, believe it or not, Justin Bieber is doing a lot of social good out there.

When he’s not clogging up Twitter’s servers, he leverages his success in a positive way by helping support several charity efforts. According to an article found here, Bieber is donating $1 for every ticket sold to his concerts to Pencils for Promise, an organization active in trying to build schools in third world countries. Almost all of his concerts are sold out, so this eventually turns into a significant amount of money.

In addition to concert ticket contributions, the Bieber is also donating money from every album he sells to the Children’s Miracle network. Not only is he getting in on the act but he’s leveraging his rabid fanbase to join him in supporting these causes.

Think what you want of the kid but there’s some good going on behind the hair. None of us have the celebrity power that he does. However, how are you using the influence and resources you have to drive social good? How are others you know?

Dreamforce Gives Back

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Bags assembled by Dreamforce volunteers for Project Night Night

The Dreamforce conference presented by had plenty of people interested in learning how to use cloud-based products to grow their own businesses. In addition to helping companies make more money, the organizers at Dreamforce also gave those companies a way to give back in the midst of networking.

At several stations that week, partnered with several local humanitarian groups in the San Francisco area to provide quick volunteer projects for Dreamforce attendees. Some of these stations mainly included assembly of different care packages that provided supplies helping such as Stop Hunger Now, World Vision and Project Night Night. One station even gave attendees the opportunity to assemble bicycles in teams, yet I am not aware of which organization that went to help.

The group that particularly caught my eye was Project Night Night. They help provide care packages to give homeless children the supplies that they need for better comfort and education. Volunteering at their station in between sessions, I was able to assemble gift bags for children that included blankets, a toy, and a few books to distribute to children in need. The books available to choose from for the packages included a wide selection – from “Goodnight Moon” to Harry Potter books and even a few teen novels.

Leveraging the thousands of people in attendance at Dreamforce, these organizations were able to make a huge impact for social good with relatively minimal effort by volunteers. If all the attendees (several thousand) took just ten to fifteen minutes to help out, think about the impact these socially responsible organizations were able to make. It’s amazing how tiny contributions can be scaled to make a huge impact.

This is the first instance of active volunteerism I’ve seen at an event like this. Where else have you seen similar events crowdsource social good?

Greyston Bakery Featured on Good Morning America

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This morning, one of our own partners got a national shout-out thanks to the people at Good Morning America.

As part of their “Countdown to Christmas” series, the theme for today was gifts that gave back. Each set of items featured products whose sales ultimately contributed to either a charity or other social good initiative. What was the first set of products shown in the segment? Do-Goodie brownies from our friends at Greyston Bakery.

The segment explains how Greyston Bakery doesn’t hire people to bake brownies but instead bake brownies to hire people. Greyston employs homeless, recently incarcerated or other impoverished individuals to help make the brownies in their factory. This business model uses the profits to help teach theses individuals job and life skills in order that they may experience a more sustainable lifestyle.

Want to see the Good Morning America clip? Click here or simply follow the link below for the full segment!

“Liking” Social Good

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When driving social media campaigns, a lot of organizations think of their potential followers as having a “what’s in it for me” type of mentality. As it turns out, a “what’s in it for others” mindset sells equally well – if not better.

A student-run advertising agency called Imagewest has taken that latter mentality in their latest agency fan page campaign. Instead of taking the typical route of providing some sort of incentive for their fan base, they took a different direction. For every fan they gained within a certain time frame, the agency donated supplies to a local animal shelter.

Seeing how fans weren’t receiving anything directly themselves, did this decline interest in their fan page? Absolutely not. Knowing their behavior (Liking Imagewest) was going to help benefit someone else in need,  activity  by followers actually went through the roof. In just a week, the small Bowling Green, Kentucky agency was able to receive nearly 600 new fan page followers.

People aren’t always “selfishly” motivated. The feeling that individuals get knowing that their actions go to help something or someone in need is almost more incentive than actually receiving something themselves. The social responsible incentive Imagewest provided their fans serves as a good model for other businesses looking to influence behavior. How could you influence employee motivation or customer loyalty using a similar socially responsible mindset.

Corporate social responsibility is good for the world and good for business. What do you all think?

Check out and “Like” Imagewest here at

A New Online Community for Nonprofits

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Those in the nonprofit community are always searching for ways to link up with other non-profit leaders and share ideas. Entrepreneurs in this segment of business face huge challenges – especially in regards to funding – and are always looking for new ways to grow their cause. In this quest, there is a new online community that makes sharing a bit easier.

Chris Brogan of Human Business Works has helped launch a new online initiative for non-profit thought leaders to come together and share knowledge. The new community – 501 Mission Place – is led by leaders in the non-profit sector such as Estrella Rosenberg (the former Director of Development for The Children’s Heart Foundation), Marc Pitman (founder of and others who have years of experience with the same obstacles many others in similar areas find. As described on their welcome page:

“Our forums are a safe place for you to share what you’re doing, get peer-sourced help and feedback when you need it and to give it when you’re able. Whether you’re just starting a non-profit or are the Executive Director of a decades old organization, you’ll find people here who can inspire you, relate to you, have been you, can learn from you or can teach you.”

Though it’s not a free community (requires a $27 month fee) it appears to be a rich resource of thought sharing. What do you all think? Will the $27 a month be worth all the learning?