How retailers are giving back this holiday season

As we enter the holiday season, NRF collects a wealth of data about how consumers plan to give — not just to their friends and family, but to those in need. Nearly seven in 10 plan on engaging in a charitable activity this season, and roughly a third plan to give back by donating items and money to a charity or cause, according to NRF’s most recent consumer holiday survey with Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Retailers give back to the communities they serve throughout the year, but during the holidays people are moved even more so by the spirit of the season to give. Many retailers funnel that spirit into impactful programs that make a real difference. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite examples of retailers giving back with the help of their employees and customers this season.

In-store drives

What would the holiday season be without a toy drive? The Disney Store and shopDisney are working with Toys for Tots on the World's Ultimate Toy Drive campaign to benefit the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve’s Toys for Tots Foundation, with Disney offering $1 for every toy donated in its stores or online, and donating $1 with the purchase of a special Mickey Mouse holiday train pin. The brand’s been working with the nonprofit for 70 years, beginning when Walt Disney animators designed the original Toys for Tots train logo.

With winter temperatures dipping across much of the country, giving the gift of warmth might be one of the kindest things a person can do. Retailers like Hollister and Abercrombie Kids team up with Operation Warm to provide new winter coats to kids in need. In addition to a round-up campaign in stores and online, store associates volunteer at donation events at schools in areas of need, including cities like Detroit, Washington, D.C., Seattle, New York City and Los Angeles.

Darden Restaurants partners with Feeding America to help in the fight against hunger. In 2019, the Darden Restaurant Foundation provided $2 million to Feeding America and its member food banks across the country. And its Harvest Program collects surplus food that is not served to guests and prepares it for donation to local nonprofit partners. Over the past year, this program donated the equivalent of 6 million meals to those in need.


Most pop-ups are about buying merchandise, but DSW is planning an entire experience dedicated to giving back this holiday season. Its DSWGives Do Good Pop-Up and digital experience will show visitors the positive impact of shoe donations, while national anti-bullying organization and DSWGives philanthropic partner Be Strong will show the power of a kind word to brighten someone’s day and inspire change. Actress, writer and DSW ambassador Mindy Kaling is lending a hand to the campaign and encouraging people to give back all season long. The pop-up will be open December 12-15 in New York City's SoHo neighborhood.

At checkout

A donation at the register is the nicest kind of impulse purchase, and for generations retailers have found it a reliable way to successfully raise money for local charitable organizations. Abercrombie & Fitch offers customers the option of purchasing gift tags benefiting the Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ young people.

Special products

Many retailers create specialty items to promote causes that align with their values. For David Yurman, it’s sustainability and the environment: The brand is supporting Polar Bears International by donating 20 percent of the purchase price of its North Star design, as well as making a donation to the organization.

1-800-FLOWERS.COM is offering eight gifts for which 20 percent of the proceeds benefit Smile Farms, a nonprofit organization that creates meaningful jobs in agricultural settings for individuals with differing abilities. In 2015, the McCann family of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM established Smile Farms as a nonprofit organization. Today it employs more than 140 individuals across its eight campuses.

Special events

Wendy’s engages its employees to help each other with a fun tradition on Giving Tuesday. This year, the company will rent a local doughnut truck and serve the treats for a donation to its WeCare employee assistance fund at its Restaurant Support Center in Ohio, along with a Frosty party in the afternoon.