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4 Ways to Make a Big Social Impact With Your Spending Money

With so many seemingly insurmountable problems facing the U.S. and the world, trying to figure out how to be an ally can be confusing, especially for those with tighter budgets. Many worry that they can’t contribute enough to actually make an impact. But just remember, anyone can create change that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion in businesses and communities. All you have to do is make some intentional choices about how—and where—you spend your money.

Choose socially-conscious companies

While some companies avoid getting involved in social justice, there are many big-name brands that have committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, Target donated $10 million to support the missions of the National Urban League and the African American Leadership Forum. Gap Brands and subsidiaries Athleta and Old Navy also donated $250,000 to NAACP and Embrace Race.

Shopping these brands means your money makes an impact. It also inspires these companies to keep supporting these causes. If you are watching your budget, you can use Old Navy cash back and the like to not only save money but get rewards, too.

Shop at minority-owned businesses

One of the biggest impacts you can make in your community is to shop with local merchants and businesses. Your money can make even more of an impact on diversity and equity if you choose businesses that are owned by someone who identifies as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color).

If you aren’t sure where to start, try using one of these apps—they can help you find locally-owned businesses that are either owned by minorities or support minority and social justice causes. Shopping locally often has the reputation of being more costly, and in some cases that can be true. For the budget-conscious, try looking for locally-owned businesses that offer discounts for teachers, frontline workers, healthcare workers, seniors, students, and veterans.

Support brands that are doing anti-racism work

Many people don’t realize that they often unintentionally support the same systems of racism that they protest against. In fact, we all—without exception—are complicit in these systems. Untangling yourself will be hard, but it can be done and it starts with the brands you choose to buy from. Logos and symbols don’t just represent companies—they represent beliefs. Be sure that the logos you wear and consume also share your beliefs and values.

For some people, this may mean a change of wardrobe. You can replace these items for less by buying gently-used and pre-worn clothes from websites like Poshmark and ThredUp. You can even sell your old clothes there, too!

Become a monthly donor

While it may not be financially feasible to make a large one-time donation to an anti-racism cause, you could make as big of an impact—if not more—by breaking that large sum up over a year. Becoming a monthly donor gives you the chance to make reasonable monthly donations that add up over time. Many nonprofits feel exceptionally grateful to monthly donors because they show a level of support and commitment that runs deeper than a one-time gift. A monthly gift is consistent support that a cause or organization can rely on which provides sustained funding for their goals.

Standing up for and against causes is a lifelong commitment. There will be times when we can do more but we can always do something. Don’t let budget constraints prevent you from supporting companies and businesses taking a stand for diversity, equity, and inclusion. You can make a big impact with any amount, whether it’s where you buy your clothes or your groceries.

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