Holiday Guide: Gifts for the Conscious Consumer

Holiday Guide: Gifts for the Conscious Consumer


It’s that time of year again when we break out the stretchy pants and struggle to find a way to watch old VHS’s on a new big-screen TV without causing a family fight.

The holiday season is here, folks. But it’s not just any old end-of-the-year roundup. We’re heading into a brand new decade.

As you prepare a speech for your nosey Aunt on what being “self-partnered” means, you’re probably tempted to shop by the influx of ads for those Black Friday/Cyber Monday “Door Busters”.

Potential credit card debt aside, we think shopping holidays are total bullsh*t and equally outdated.

Considering it’s the day after we all take time to focus on what we’re supposed to be thankful for, it seems a bit contradicting to impulse buy a bunch of material items.

Not to mention, Black Friday just doesn’t align with the values of a good portion of our generation, period.

We’re the pioneers putting big-box stores out of business. The legends who strictly support companies that give back. We’re even inadvertently taking down the mayonnaise industry.

If millennials are “killing” certain boomer-approved industries, there’s probably a good reason for it: they’re harmful to our communities and planet. Or just unattainable because, you know, things like a 2008 market collapse.

But, hey! Who’s counting?

By opting out of Black Friday, you aren’t just avoiding potentially getting trampled to death, you’re also giving a big NOPE to the system.

That being said, gift-giving is a love language, a form of showing appreciation, and a fine art.

In an attempt to avoid having to hibernate until Spring, we’ve created a Holiday Gift Guide for the Conscious Consumer so you don’t break the bank or compromise your morals.


Shop Local

Shopping local helps stimulate the economy of your community and is our favorite way to consume without lining the pockets of the corrupt.

You may save a few bucks at Walmart, sure, but at what cost? Not only do they create waste and try to make their greed come off as being moral, but they also treat their employees like total garbage.

Local business owners prove ’em wrong by turning a profit while supporting other local businesses, creating jobs, donating to non-profits and overall having a lower negative impact on the environment.

You’re essentially gifting everyone in your community when you shop small.

We’ll call that “community service”.

Shop B Corporations

Like most of your struggles, we get it. Not everyone has the privilege of creating only a mason jar’s worth of waste annually, brewing their own kombucha or whatever else those overachievers do, let alone being able to only shop local. 

Luckily for all of us, a bunch of national companies are hopping on board with combining profit & purpose.

If you must buy from a big corporation, buy from ones that meet the “B” standards.

These companies have gone as far as making it their legal obligation to have the most sustainable practices possible, meaning they take a microscope to their methods and monitor their impact on local communities and the environment. In short, they’re using business as a force for good.

Check out this B Corporation registry to find out who’s on the naughty or nice list.

Gift Experiences

It’s no secret that our generation appreciates experiences over material items. We’re giving consumerism a makeover and we ain’t mad about it.

Instead of gifting items that’ll get stuffed in the back of a closet, or worse, re-gifted to another friend, try giving your buds tickets to stand up comedy or movies, classes, lessons or other experiences that someone may not have purchased for themselves.

After all, we’re human. And what humans really want are memories, connections, and to be tagged on IG when we look good.

Gift Sustainability

Not-so-fun fact: Between Thanksgiving and New Year, Americans produce more trash than normal. 25 million additional tons, to be exact.

Being that we’re the most wasteful country in the world, that’s ALOT of extra trash.

Encouraging people to adopt more conscious habits can be tricky. That’s why we suggest getting real sneaky and gift presents that’ll help jumpstart your loved ones to live a more sustainable lifestyle. 

We suggest a Zero Waste Kit for your trash-lovin’ loved ones. Not only does it benefit them in an educational sense, it benefits the environment.

Greta would be proud.


So take this holiday gift guide for the conscious consumer, pass it around and, give the gift of knowledge.

What’s more, giving doesn’t need to be isolated to the holiday season.

Give the gift of giving by signing up your loved one for a subscription with Down to Donate. For $8 bucks a month they’ll get to handpick one of our non-profit partners to donate to and if they’re real indecisive, they can split their donation between up to 3 different non-profits.

Still need convincing? Listen to our podcast with Kathy Terry, founder of inLieu, on why we should be gifting donations to nonprofits instead oh traditional gifts.

How to Choose Which Nonprofits to Support

How to Choose Which Nonprofits to Support

how choose which nonprofits support
How to Choose Which Nonprofits to Support

As Autumn takes its sweet time to roll in, we can’t help but notice our social feeds quickly beginning to fill up with influencers apple-picking in oversized sweaters and posing perfectly in pumpkin patches. A true indication that the Season of Giving is upon us.

In 2017, over an estimated 410 billion dollars were given to charitable causes with 30% of those donations given in December alone

Now, hold on to your butts, because a whopping 70% of those donations were straight from fine folks just like yourselves.

Yup. We’re talking individual donors.

We’re not here to say, “We told you so.” But, we meant it when we said we’re stronger when we work together.

Did you think that was a global figure? Oh, no-no-no.

That’s just in the US of A. Take a bow, America! We give more to charities than any other country around the world.

That being said, we felt now would be a great time to share some valuable information we securely lock away at DTD’s HQ. (Otherwise known as our founder’s couch.)

You see, we’ve hand-picked every single awesome nonprofit that you see on our partner’s page and, well, we have some pretty *high* standards…

Let’s just say, if you called us “experts”, we wouldn’t correct you.

It took countless hours to find nonprofits that both worked in tandem with the Sustainable Development Goals and practiced transparency. So, during this inevitably busy season of giving, we’ll save you some time and share some fool-proof tips on how to choose which nonprofits to support.

How to Choose Which Nonprofits to Support


Repeat after me: 501(c)3

A certified Non-Profit Organization is registered as “tax-exempt”. Also referred to as an NGO, charity … or 501(c)3. It’s a lot to take in with us throwing all of these terms around, but you can usually find their 501(c)3 badge of approval at the bottom of most nonprofit websites.

Being a tax-deductible organization means everything is on public record from the charity’s location to how much the CEO makes. And it’s all useful information that you might wanna take into consideration when choosing a charity.

If you’re concerned about the organization’s religious or political motives, you’re able to see exactly where the donations are coming from on their annual reports. Those juicy details are available on sites like:

-Charity Navigator

-American Institute of Philanthropy 

-Charity Watch


Financial reports are serious business, however Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk hits the nail on the head urging us to allow charities the financial freedom to be innovative in an attempt to gain more donors or permit larger projects that may require more time and capitol.

Our man Dan references how he didn’t raise over $200 million in AIDS research by putting up flyers at cafes. It took campaigns, marketing, and of course, money upfront.

Spending money to make money. A concept that’s proven successful time and time again with regular old for-profit businesses.

Why can’t we allow Charities to do the same? We could go on and on about this, but we suggest you watch that TED Talk. It’s undeniable and worth every 18 minutes and 40 seconds of listening.

Either way, do some detective work and support transparent causes that get sh*t done.


Consider this a two-for-one.

First, what’s the nonprofit’s mission?

Every NGO has a mission. It’s most likely painted across their website a trillion times.

This part is easy: Does it align with your fundamental goals and values?

Yes? Great! We’re getting close to picking a charity.

Second, is it realistic?

Listen, we all have dreams. Believe me. We had The Area 51 Raid marked on our calendars ever since we saw the first memes. But we can’t always get what we want. It still stings.

In the non-profit sector, the charity should be able to provide a detailed outline of how they’ll achieve their goals. This includes spending reports, projections and an outline explaining. Think of it as a business plan that’s available to the public.

While we’re at it, let’s make sure the charity is aware of their impact beyond their mission and is able to confirm that there aren’t any negative side effects or repercussions.

For example, a common practice has been sending inexperienced volunteers to poverty-stricken areas in an attempt to provide aid and education.

The intention is altruistic, yet oftentimes there are cultural adjustments and learning curves. As a result, volunteers are often hurting more than helping.

The alternative, and far more productive, is working with existing community leaders to provide tools and resources that will be valuable for them to implement and educate within their society. In return, we gain understanding, help our fellow humans and avoid conflict and anxiety attacks. We actually have an incredible episode of Good Work that talks about this exact setback.


There is an unfair amount of causes out there that need, deserve, and aren’t getting support.

Disaster relief, reproductive rights, mental health, veteran support, LGBTQ rights, gun reform, environmental, animals, children, refugees and what about the whales?

The list is long and constantly growing. Whether it be international organizations or grassroots ones, we believe NGOs are valuable no matter how big or small.

Whether you switch it up monthly, annually or biannually, diversifying your donations is the best way to support the multiple causes you believe in.

At Down to Donate, we believe that micro-donations have the biggest impact. Think of it like pitching in for the keg. We all put in a little, and then our environmentally friendly cups seem to have a never-ending stream of booze.

Micro donations are another way to contribute to the multiple causes you support without going into debt.

For $8 a month you can donate one of our vetted non-profit partners or split a single donation between up to 3 different non-profits. Every month you can change it up, diversifying your dollars that are making a difference all over the damn place.

Basically, skip the research. We got you.

Are you a registers 501(3)c Looking to partner with us at Down To Donate? Click here!

Are you a donor that wants to suggest a cause? Perfect! Suggest a cause here!

8 Easy Socially Conscious Habits to Form

8 easy socially conscious habits to form
8 Easy Socially Conscious Habits to Form

At Down to Donate we throw around the word Slacktivist a lot. If you’re not familiar with its meaning or origin, it’s essentially 90% slacker and 10% activist. You may have even taken offense to the phrase before, considering it’s basically USA Today’s way of saying, “Quit Tweeting and start acting.”

A Slacktivist is the kind of person that’s probably posted a photo of a mountain with the words, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” plastered over it, but also doesn’t have the time to dedicate their life to volunteering with a nonprofit in a poverty-stricken country.

And yeah, we get it. So we’ve decided to reclaim its meaning and show the naysayers that we can have our cake and donate too.

So, let me ask you, do you turn the water off when you brush your teeth? Are you not crippled by toxic masculinity and proudly pull out your reusable bags at the grocery store? Are you politically aware and ask yourself how you can do more but *also* still be able to pay the bills?

We hear ya. We’d much rather have fun with our limited free time and unimpressive salaries (that tend to flat-line while the cost of living goes up), so we made a solid list of 8 Easy Socially Conscious Habits to Form for the slacktivist who wants to create positive change with little effort.

8 Easy Socially Conscious Habits to Form

Be That Trash Girl

We’ve all seen her. Her name is Lauren Singer and she can fit all her trash from the whole year in a mason jar (and we’re not even talking a Costco-sized jar, it’s actually pretty small). She makes a conscious effort to minimize her waste and pays close attention to her consumption. Even Lauren says going Zero Waste Living doesn’t happen overnight, but we can for sure *start* now.

Consume less and save more money? We’re in.

Hold People Accountable

Don’t go around trolling people IRL, it probably won’t bode as well as it does on Twitter. But truth be told, some people honestly don’t know that they’re being a trash human, and if you’ve got a few seconds to educate them, do it. They’re probably itching for some insightful tips that help them help the planet.

Consider this to be Down to Donate’s Hippocratic Oath: ‘Tis your duty to drop knowledge on those who are unaware, unable, and ignorant.

Let it be heard!

Tell your pops that it doesn’t take five minutes to ‘warm up the tap water’. And why is your Grandma still recycling pizza boxes? Time to learn how to compost, Norma!

From our experience, these conversations aren’t always comfortable. The key to holding people accountable is the way you deliver it. Will they always be receptive? No way. We’ve been conditioned to think this way of living is normal. Start your conscious consumer crusade with a super gentle tone.

Practice Mindfulness

Our daily existence comes at a cost. And us Westerners often don’t see the impact it has on the environment or communities around the world.

We can’t always be there to police other people, nor should we have to, but we can start by calling ourselves out and practice being mindful. Every cause has an effect and oftentimes, it’s more than one.

Be mindful about the duration of your shower, water used while washing dishes, the food you eat, choosing transportation, where you shop – everything! Mindfulness is all about being self-aware, and that understandably takes time to develop. Starting with just one conscious act a day will absolutely make a big ol’ positive impact.

Skip Single-Use Plastics

Nothing is less sexy than some who is aware, yet straight up just doesn’t care.

Don’t believe me? I seriously considered breaking up with a guy because he would buy 24-packs of small water bottles for his house rather than reusable gallon jugs KNOWING that it has a harmful impact on the environment.

Petty? Maybe, but I like my men *~*WoKe*~*  

There’s cheap reusable stuff, bougie reusable stuff and custom reusable stuff. Either way, it’s all accessible reusable stuff.

Use it and don’t be like my ex. Or I’ll break up with you too.

Rinse Your Recycling

Just last year, China was buying up recyclables from western countries and giving us a serious out-of-sight-out-of-mind complex.

Those days are over, as it just doesn’t make sense to haul our un-rinsed recycling to the Middle Kingdom only to discover the worst… trash juice.


Now that we’re stuck figuring out how to deal with our plastic consumption domestically, we can start by giving it a good wash so the good folks who filter through our plastics don’t have to come home smelling like a rotten mixture of America’s condiments. We love our mustard, but not when it’s mixed with yesterday’s watered-down latte.

Before you start scrubbing ketchup packets, be sure to check out this SUPER helpful NPR article about what is and what isn’t recyclable.

Feeling guilty for over-recycling? We did too. Live and learn, slacktivist. Live. And. Learn.


Volunteering isn’t always an option for everyone, we get it. But teamwork makes the dream work, so get your Top 8 together and turn your next chill session into something impactful.

We may or may not be guilty of drinking White Claws while doing a small neighborhood clean up. Just try not to get arrested.

Head to your local animal shelter and get some free therap- I mean… walk a dog.

The more of us that pitch in, the less work it is for everybody else. And if that isn’t a slacktivistic approach to making a difference then I don’t know what is.


Boyan Slat is the boy genius from the Netherlands who invented The Ocean Cleanup, a machine that skims and cleans the first meter of the ocean to remove the floating plastics. Bonus: it’s completely charged by solar panels. I, in no way shape or form, have the brains that Boyan has, but I’ve sure as sh*t got $5 on it.

There are tons of issues that need support and that’s exactly why Down to Donate was created, so you can live your life while knowing that you’re always giving.

Sign up here and subscribe to donate $8 bucks a month, with the option to split that donation between 3 different nonprofits that totally need our help.

Spend Your Money Wisely

We’re all about treating ourselves. However, we’re also all about knowing where our money is going. We hold the buying power, and with every dollar we spend we have the opportunity to support companies who care about us and the planet, or companies who just want those Benjamins.

We’re as guilty as the next guy when it comes to putting our money into the hands of greedy conglomerates, but all it takes is a little bit of research to find out just what these companies do with your dollars.

For instance, is the companies mission a pipeline or renewable energy? Are they helping or hurting communities? Do they pay their employee’s livable wages?

In other words, are they ethical?

A Certified B Corporation is a for-profit business that not only holds itself to a high social and environmental standard, but they also make it their legal obligation to do so. Becoming a B Corporation is no easy task. However, the more consumers require companies to have sustainable practices, the more companies will follow suit and be socially responsible.

With over 2,000 companies that are certified in over 50 different countries, we have options to put our money where our values are.

Check the Certified B Corp Directory to find out which companies are making conscious efforts to be a force for good.

The Takeaway

Is this shift from constant consumer to conscious consumer going to be easy? Nope. We didn’t even listen to the “Water – Use it wisely” ads back in the ’90s, and now look what’s happening!

But now more than ever, the information is flowing and all of the dirty secrets corporations thought we’d never find out about them is as available as the plastic water bottles they told us not to worry about. We have the power and we can quite literally make or break our own futures.

Feeling overwhelmed? That’s a-okay. Share this with a friend and brainstorm together on how you can go from hopeless to hopeful with these 8 easy socially conscious habits.

Want to hear more about for-profit businesses making a social and environmental impact? Check out the Good Work Podcast to hear Monica, founder of Down to Donate, interview some change-makers who are paving the way for a greener, more sustainable planet.