Black Friday is traditionally the biggest day of the year for the bulk of the retail world. Although your store actually has its big day at some point in the late summer or early fall, there's no reason you can't get in on the day-after-Thanksgiving action.
Black Friday is a great opportunity for your store to do some outreach, although it may need a fresh coat of paint — we're thinking green. By inviting your customers to donate apparel, furniture, food or other items to charity in exchange for a discount or a replacement through your store, you can tap into your customers' sense of social consciousness and put a giving spin on a day of bargain shopping with our Green Friday promotion.
Step 1: Pick a date
If you want, you could hold this event on Black Friday itself: Nov. 26. That said, most campuses nationwide will have few students on hand — they'll either be home for the holiday break, or possibly out shopping for deals themselves. For that reason, you could easily pick any other Friday earlier in the month. Be mindful of when your school's break begins, exam schedules or other events that could be a deal breaker or deal maker for your Green Friday promotion.
Step 2: Partner with a charity
Select a charitable organization in your area for your event to support. This is important for a lot of reasons: it puts a face on your event, it defines who your students will be helping with their donations and it helps define what types of donations you'll need to accept, whether it's clothing, furniture, toys, food or other items.
If you need help selecting a charitable organization to reach out for your Green Friday event,CharityNavigator.org is a great directory that lets you sort by location, scope of work, rating and more.
Step 3: Organize your Green Friday
You know when your Green Friday will be, and you know who it will support. Now, decide how it will work.
Decide on what customers should donate
- If a clothing drive is appropriate for the charity of your choice, this is a great choice for a Green Friday donation drive. Gently-used clothing is always in need, and it gives students an opportunity to clear out their closets.
- Food drives also make for an excellent choice, especially so close to the holidays. It's relatively inexpensive for even cash-strapped students to buy a few canned goods, and it ensures a family in need is able to keep food on the table.
- It's a great feeling to know you provided a piece of furniture to someone who needs it, but keep in mind it might not be the most practical event to execute for your store — it's more difficult for students to move, plus they're less likely to have any to give away in the middle of the year. Consider bundling a furniture drive with other items to increase its impact, or save it for May, when students are leaving their dorm rooms and have furniture, fixtures and other household items they no longer need.
Select your incentive
Donating an item to someone in need is its own reward, but sweetening the pot for your customers is a great way to further drive engagement and show that your store is in the spirit of giving as well.
There are various promotions you could hold in conjunction with Green Friday:
- One free piece of logoed apparel as a replacement for any three clothing items you donate
- 1% off your purchase for each canned good brought in (up to 20%)
- Anything else you can think of!
Showcase other socially conscious merchandise
Download: all promo marketing materials
While we're promoting good causes, do you offer any Fair Trade clothing or snack items? How about accessories made from unique or recycled materials? Or merchandise from companies that donate a percentage of proceeds or items to those who need them? Your customers will be getting in the spirit of giving back and helping others, so it's a great time to show off the merchandise you sell that does the same.
Promote on social media
Get the word out early and often about your Green Friday event, so students have time to collect what they want to donate and know when to bring it to your store.
Don't worry, we've got you covered there: use these images and messages to promote your event.
Click to download themed header images for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to catch your shoppers' attention, and feel free to use these suggested social media posts to show what Green Friday is all about. Just replace the information between the $dollar signs$ with the relevant information for your store's promotion:
We all like to get up early on Black Friday to get a great deal on that perfect gift for someone on our list (and maybe even ourselves while we're at it,) but what about those whose holiday lists include warm clothes or food to eat? Let's give them something to be thankful for this holiday season. Stop by the store $date$ for Green Friday, and help us help those in need!
$include information here about what charity it supports, what items you're looking for, what promotions you'll be having, etc.$
Got clothes you don't need? Celebrate Green Friday $date$ this year to help others who don't, and get a discount on in-store merchandise!