December 03, 2006

Tis' the season of giving - back.

Findings from a nationwide poll to determine Americans' plans for charitable giving this holiday season show that more than half of Americans intend to purchase a holiday gift that gives back a portion of the proceeds to a cause. Furthermore, with just four shopping days left, nearly six-out-of-ten shoppers aim to support a charity by making gift-giving purchases from retailers that support a philanthropic cause - up nearly 10 percent from 2005. The results of this year's Cone Holiday Trend Tracker, now in its ninth year, indicate that consumers are looking to Corporate America to provide opportunities that help them do good.

"More than six-out-of-ten shoppers said that they are likely to consider a company's reputation for supporting causes when purchasing gifts this holiday season," noted Julia Hobbs Kivistik, Executive Vice President, Cause Branding, Cone Inc. "Survey findings underscore the importance of business involvement in causes." Added Kivistik, "Companies can leverage this season of giving, and attract the attention of busy holiday shoppers, if they offer consumers an easy and affordable way to engage in charitable giving."

"The holiday season is not the only time of the year that Americans shop with a cause in mind," continued Kivistik. "Companies have an opportunity to engage consumers and remain relevant to their target audiences year-round by establishing a deep, ongoing cause commitment."

The 2006 Cone Holiday Trend Tracker also shows that Americans plan to increase their overall charitable activities in comparison to 2005. I plan to do the following to support a cause, issue or charity this holiday season:

Health, education, the environment, poverty, homelessness - for every cause, there is a cause-related shopping opportunity this time of year.

Thanks to savvy marketers, last-minute gift givers have time to be philanthropic and finish their holiday shopping -- at the same time. Following are just a few ideas for gifts that give back:

Jockey's corporate citizenship initiative, Jockey Being Family, which provides newly adoptive families a place to turn when they need a helping hand. Now in its third year, Jockey looks to engage consumers through the sale of its "Being Family Bear." Released just in time for the holiday season, customers can purchase a Being Family teddy bear for $7.50 at jockey.com and retail stores nationwide, $3 of which goes towards charities supporting adoption.

(PRODUCT) RED officially launched in the United States on October 13, 2006, which encourages consumers to purchase (RED) branded products to raise money and awareness for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.(PRODUCT) RED has teamed up with the world's most iconic brands to produce products where a percentage of each product sold will be given
directly to The Global Fund to help women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. 2006 U.S. holiday season products include the Apple iPod nano, the Motorola RAZR V3m and Bluetooth Headset H500, Converse sneakers and fashion lines from The Gap and Emporio Armani.

Macy's which has rolled out its "Thanks for Sharing" holiday promotion again this season. From October 4 until December 30, customers can enroll in the program for a $25 fee and receive 10% rewards on purchases made with their Macy's card through December 30. With each enrollment, the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign and the Make-A-Wish Foundation will split a $10 donation.

For more information at http://www.coneinc.com

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