Today I got a mailer from AVEDA, one of the companies I interviewed for my forthcoming book, Strategic Business Philanthropy, announcing their holiday promotions.  The cover caught my eye as it said, “Give Gifts That Make a Difference.”   

On the inside, AVEDA showed a stack of handmade paper boxes on one panel and information on “Extraordinary Gifts” and “Extraordinary Purpose” on the facing panel.  The Gifts paragraph stated, “From the inside-out, Aveda gift sets make a difference – for hair, skin and body, the giver and the receiver, indigenous communities and the Earth.”  The Purpose section stated, “the handcarfted paper on the outsiode of our special boxed gift sets serves an even greater purpose – it helps employ 1,282 Nepali women and men, preserve 90,000 acres of Himalayan forest and send the children of 500 families to school.  Give Aveda gift sets to touch hearts and change lives.”

I went to the website (as usual) to see what else I could learn.  The website also gives educational environmental information about Nepal:

  • “Although Nepal possesses only 0.1% of the world’s total landmass, it accounts for over 2% of its flowering plants, 8% of its birds and over 4% of its mammals.*
  • After extensive foresting, only 29% of Nepali forest-cover remains**—significantly less than the 40% recommended by ecologists for a healthy environment. ***
  • Seeking alternatives to conventional forest practices helps ensure that biodiversity is preserved and resources are available for the people of Nepal.

Paper on our special boxed gift sets was sustainably sourced from the bark of the lokta shrub, harvested without destroying the plant stock.”  They also state, “paper handcrafted by men and women in Malika and Dalika—two regions high in the Himalayas—help them improve their lives and reverse deforestation.” Aveda began partnering with these communities in 2002 and continues to strengthen the relationship.  On another page about the partnership, the Aveda website states that, “When our partnership with Nepali forest product enterprises began in 2002, our focus was simple: create economic opportunities in impoverished communities dedicated to biodiversity conservation.” This page also tells the story of one of the participating families to give it the human touch.

I am a big Aveda fan anyway and even more so since I interviewed Mary T’Kach for my book.  I like this flyer – they tell exactly how many people are benefitting from this promotion.  Do you give similar information about any special promotions you run to support causes either through commerce (they bought the paper from the artisans) as in this Aveda example or through your contributions?  You should…consumers like to know about real impact and how their purchase makes a difference.