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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Save the World Saturday: Spend Well

Today I'm going to do something a little bit different. Instead of pointing your attention toward a non-profit charity, I want to talk about for-profit corporations that are doing their part to make the world a better place.
Check out this 2002 article from
America's Most Philanthropic Corporations
Ford Motor Company topped the list with $137.6 million in donations in 2001. Target gave the largest percent of their income at 2.51% ($85.8 million). Now, I know that the article is a little old, but I suspect that - while the numbers may shuffle around a bit - most of the companies on the 2001 list would also be on the 2010 list. (If any of you find a more recent article, please post it in the comments.)
However, that's something that you can research for yourself. What's your favorite charity? I'll bet they have a website. I'll also bet that on that website there is a list of their biggest corporate contributors. Take note of the businesses that are helping your cause, and, even if you are not in a position to contribute to the charity yourself, you can choose to buy products or patronize businesses that already do.
Now, I suppose I could be cynical and suggest that these companies are only giving to charity as a tax break or as a way of raising their public image. Instead, though, I will be practical and say, "Who Cares?!?"
The point is that they're giving, and we should do whatever we can to encourage that, right?
For example, I'll walk you through the process for one of my favorite non-profits: the ASPCA.
Right off, I don't see a "corporate sponsors" link, so I'm going to have to look around a bit. No big deal. By clicking on the "Site Map" I can see a list of all of the pages on the site. Now, I'm having to look around a bit more than I expected to find this info (heads up, ASPCA, if you're reading this), but eventually I spy a couple of recognizable names under the "About the ASPCA" section.
Subaru. I'm not planning on buying a car anytime soon, and I don't know that I would make such a large purchase based solely on the company's contribution to charity, anyway, but if I were trying to decide between a Subaru and another vehicle, this might be enough to tip the scales.
Red Lion Hotels. I don't stay in hotels a lot, but now I will definitely keep Red Lion Hotels in mind if I do.
Lowe's. I already go to Lowe's about half the time when I need tools, hardware supplies, new keys, whatever. Okay, now I'll use them all the time. Pretty simple.
Fresh Step. Hey, no-brainer. I have a cat. I regularly buy cat litter. I'll have to discuss it with Adelaide (my cat), naturally, but I see no reason why she'd object to switching brands.
Okay, you get the idea. I already contribute to and support the ASPCA, but I wish I could do more. This is one way that I can.
I doubt I'm the first person to say this, but I like to say that we only get to vote once or twice a year in the ballot box, but we vote every day - several times a day - at the cash register.
Reward companies that are doing good with their dollars . . . with your dollars.

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