Toys for Tots is one of the best known causes that rings the bells of joythroughout the holidays. It's an easy thing to do. Buy a toy. Drop it in the box. Help under privileged kids have at least one day of sheer joy. This program is one of many that makes it easy for people to help others during the holidays. With the help of social media however, it's getting even easier.
For example, dressbarn raised money for the Toys for Tots organization by asking folks on Twitter to follow @dressbarn and mention that they are raising money for Toys for Tots! If users Tweet using the#dressbarntoys, a dollar would be raised for the cause.
"We are so proud to be partnered with Toys for Tots again this holiday season,” said Vivian Behrens, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of dressbarn inc., "By working together, we can bring even more smiles to thousands of children this year."
Just Google "social media" and "holiday causes" and you'll come across a slew of others. One example is Angel Giving, a program developed by JCPenny using a Facebook fan page, targeted towards holiday bargain hunters and the sweepstakes crazed. In conjunction with the Salvation Army, JCPenny asked fans to entering a zip code, desired age group, and gender of the Angel they wanted to "shop for." Fans were then be presented with matching children and their holiday gift wishes. Once fans selected their Angel, JCPenney will followed up via email with additional details on their participation in their cause.
Salvation Army is also asking Facebook fans to create virtual kettles on their pages and ask their friends to make donations without ever visiting a real storefront kettle. The United Way and Red Cross are tweeting their latest news of families helped and fund drives launched.
Another interesting campaign is charity: water. The website was devoted to Twitter backgrounds that users can download and put on their pages to help spread the word as well as facts about water on the micro-blogging network.
These are just a very small sampling of ways brands and causes are using social media to drive donations. It appears to be working as it's been reported recently that online holiday giving is expected to exceed $4 billion, despite the economy being the way that it is. Apparently more consumers have and plan to give online this year than in 2008.