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  • Writer's pictureWesten MacIntosh

Black Friday Ideas - Stand Out by Giving Back

Updated: Feb 3

Black Friday & Cyber Monday are the busiest days in retail. While these events have become synonymous with discounts and deals, new ways of marking the busy season are taking center-stage as brands opt-in to share a different message with consumers.

Black Friday Discounting

What happens on Black Friday & Cyber Monday?

Black Friday is the time when retailers go from the red into the black, this is when customers (now from all across the world) take advantage of heavy discounting to stock up on Christmas presents, or other gadgets they were waiting for.

While the world's largest corporations will see a 62% increase in sales over Black Friday, The smaller e-commerce brands will see a fraction of that (27% growth). Large corporations have the ability to discount beyond what SMBs can offer, so how can smaller retailers keep up? Thankfully there has been a shift in recent years and there are more options available to retailers beyond heavy discounting.

The changing face of Black Friday & Conscious Consumers

Conscious consumers, are the largest customer segment in eCommerce, and they are less focused on price and more focused on purpose. As a result, there has been a rise in social and giving initiatives during the Black Friday weekend.

While research has shown that people still like a discount, it is way more effective when paired with donations.

Whether it be sustainability or charity support, there are a number of alternatives that you can follow this November.

Black Friday Alternatives - share your message

The alternatives to Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) all focus on purpose. Whether it be buying from ethical brands or companies that are choosing to swap discounts for donations, or do both.

  • Give Back Friday - swap deals for donations, or do both

  • Green Friday - share your commitment to sustainability

  • Blue Friday - help protect our oceans and waterways


Shopify Donation App


Give back Friday

Give Back Friday is a catch-all for any 'Giving Back' a brand would like to commit to on the day. It is a versatile movement that has been gaining traction over the past few years with more and more companies taking part. Here are some examples of brands swapping discounts for donations from previous years:

Causes to Support for Give Back Friday

On Virtue there are 20,000+ UK charities to donate to for Give Back Friday. A few that we highly recommend:

  • The Trussel Trust - support food banks to provide practical support to people in crisis

  • Fareshare - re-distribute surplus food to families who need it

  • British-Ukrainian Aid- assisting individuals who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged, including the injured, orphaned, and disadvantaged

  • The Hygiene Bank believe it is not right that feeling clean should be a luxury or a privilege for anyone in our society, yet many are living in poverty and cannot afford to stay clean. That is why our network of projects exists – to give people access to the basics they need.

  • Woman's Aid - donations help provide life-saving services to women and children across the UK

  • Support Dogs - Provide, Train, and support specialist assistance dogs to increase independence and quality of life for people with various medical conditions

  • World Bicycle Relief - support goes towards creating and proving bicycles to those living in remote communities

  • AKT - providing safe homes for LGBQ+ youth

  • Women's Work - Raising Hopes and Aspirations of Women and Families.

Movember - an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide. Why not pair the biggest eCommerce event on the year with one of the most important ones by supporting Movember?

Or pick from Virtue's eco-system of 20,000+ Causes and UK charities to donate to:

Green Friday

Green Friday is an initiative focused on sustainability. Instead of offering heavy discounts on fast fashion, companies will work to promote their sustainable lines or will donate to environmental causes.

There are a number of ways to take part in Green Friday:

  • Promote sustainable items in your shop

  • Plant Trees with every purchase

  • Donate to charities and causes that promote environmental conservation and fight against deforestation

  • Switch to a sustainable packaging alternative for your store

Some larger brands are taking part in Green Friday as well. In 2021 Ikea took on the Green Friday Initiative offering shoppers the ability to return their pre-loved IKEA furniture in exchange for a $25 coupon to spend on other items.

IKEA Green Friday

Causes to Support for Green Friday

If you are interested in giving to a cause this Green Friday, here are a few charities to donate to that we highly recommend:

  • Virtue's Tree Planting Partners - support tree planting and reforestation efforts across the world

  • Kelp Re-forestation with Just One Tree - carbon removal from the oceans through kelp forest regeneration

  • World Land Trust - raises money to buy and then protect environmentally-threatened land in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America

  • Rainforest Foundation UK - climate justice for forest communities. Securing lands, sustaining lives

Blue Friday

Blue Friday is another sustainability initiative, however, this one is focused on preserving our oceans and waterways. This can either be focused on preserving oceans and fisheries or helping with clean drinking water.

There are a number of ways to take part in Blue Friday:

  • Offset your plastic footprint

  • Donate to charities and causes that protect oceans and fisheries

  • Support causes that promote clean drinking water

Armani is supporting an initiative called Aqua for Life - Empowering communities by developing access to drinking water that is being promoted for Blue Friday. Proceeds from some collections are helping to provide clean drinking water to communities across the world.

Armani Blue Friday

Causes to Support for Blue Friday

We have a number of causes that you can support for Blue Friday. A few charities to donate to that we recommend include:

  • Virtue's Plastic Offsetting Partners - Removing Plastic from our Oceans, our partners include 7 Clean Seas and the CleanHub

  • Kelp Re-forestation with Just One Tree - carbon removal from the oceans through kelp forest regeneration

  • Sea Shepherd UK - Sea Shepherd UK's mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans

  • Sea Life Trust - working globally to protect the world's oceans and the amazing marine life that lives within them

Using Virtue Giving App features to incentivise sales with impact

At Virtue Shopify App, we have made it easy for retailers to start giving back from sales in as little as a few minutes.

We have over 20,000 causes that you can support, and many ways to give.

Give from product sales

If you would like to give a fixed amount to a cause on black Friday (ie, plant a tree with every order) you can use our fixed-giving feature. This allows stores to give either a set percentage GBP amount. You can give from orders or products and choose which collections contribute to your causes.

Upsell with impact

This is a great way to set giving and spending milestones for your customers. The higher their cart value the more is donated to a chosen cause. Increase both - your average order value and impact for your causes.

Customer Donations

If you would like to give your customers the ability to give back then you could implement customer giving in your store.

If you want to run a giving campaign this year and looking to do this via a Shopify charity donations app, you can get set up in a few minutes with Virtue for Shopify.

Or, you can reach out to us directly at if you have any questions.

What else is Happening?

Yes there is life after Black/Green/Blue/Giveback Friday and two more major retail events are taking stage in December before we can all take that well deserved break - #GivingTuesday and of course Christmas.

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a movement to 'do good'. Over the last decade, it has grown into a global movement for people and brands to give (on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday).

There are a number of ways to take part in Giving Tuesday:

  • Donate to a charity or cause

  • Donate food or items to a cause

  • Volunteer your time to a worthy cause

Giving Tuesday UK has over 4,400 partners helping to give back and make the world a better place on November 29th 2022.

You can also register your brand here if you would like to join the Giving Tuesday partner network.

Children in Need

Children in Need will officially take place on Friday, November 18, but fundraising events will be held for several weeks leading up to the televised shows. As in previous years, Children in Need will be screened on BBC1 on the Friday evening. You can support BBC Children Appeal on Virtue

Christmas starts early in retail

While a lot of us get in and get those Christmas gifts early - many others do leave it to 'last minute'. One thing to remember Christmas in retail starts early.

We recommend running your campaigns as early as start of December. Of course we are biased here, but what better way to

celebrate the season than with adding an element of giving back to your sales. Virtue is partnered with Crisis, FareShare and The Trussell Trust.


Happy selling with impact! Check out Virtue UK Giving App on Shopify and let us know if there is anything you want to chat about by emailing

Virtue team


Guide: How to Run a Giving Campaign

  • How to choose a cause

  • How to pick a Giving Style

  • Launch Checklist

  • Cause Calendar

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