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Black Friday Ideas - Stand Out by Giving Back

Updated: Jan 9

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 centre 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 cause marketing 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:

Shopify Donation App

Virtue - simple way to let customers see the positive impact of their purchases. Compatible with Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, Adobe Commerce Cloud.


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 over 40,000 charities and impact partners that you can support for Give Back Friday. Here are a few great ones to consider:

  • 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 of the year with one of the most important ones by supporting Movember?

Or pick from Virtue's eco-system of 40,000+ Causes and 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 donate to environmental causes.

There are several 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. There are many great initiatives that you can support:

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. Here are a few options:

Shop small

In the recent years brands like Cards Against Humanity, EYO, Ocean Bottle, have sent an arguably even stronger brand message by tapping out of BFCM all together. Equally anti over consumerism and PR worthy - these brands have managed to both stand out AND in some cases increase sales by discouraging consumerism as we know it.

We also love how influential brands like Ocean Bottle, with SME margins in mind, are encouraging people to shop small with SMEs who often can't compete with big brads on the discounting front.

Using Virtue Giving App features to incentivise sales with impact

At VIrtue we have built a number of integrations making it easy for online retailers to give back and make a difference. If you have a shop built on Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, or Adobe eCommerce then check out our integrations.

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 or a set amount from every order.

You can also support different initiatives with individual products from your store.

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 Giving aka Checkout Donations

If you would like to give your customers the ability to donate at checkout then you could implement customer giving in your store. This is a great way to raise more money for a cause that you care about.

What else is Happening?

After Black/Green/Blue/Giveback Friday there are other major retail events to consider. These include Giving Tuesday and the lead-up to 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

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 the start of December. and look for some great causes to support including homelessness initiatives, food banks, and organisations collecting toys for children.

Happy selling with impact! Check out our integrations and let us know if there is anything you want to chat about by emailing [email protected]

Virtue team


Virtue - simple way to let customers see the positive impact of their purchases. Compatible with Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, Adobe Commerce Cloud.


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