Changing the world, one bangle at a time

Story by Kylie English

Are you more likely to purchase a product if you know a percentage of the price goes back to a charity? Does it make you feel like you’re not only spoiling yourself but also helping others in need? Charity by Design is a branch off of the popular jewelry brand Alex and Ani. It was designed to allow customers a chance to give back to a specific charity while also purchasing something for themselves.

Affectionately referred to as CBD by its employees, Charity by Design retails the classic bangle bracelet with a charm that represents the charity it gives back to. 20% of the sale directly benefits the organization that it coincides with. With every bangle, the consumer receives a small card that explains the meaning behind the bangle’s charm and a bit of information regarding the charity it is associated with.

Currently, CBD has 45 non-profit organizations partnered with its program. Along with the 20% of sales that goes back to the charity, Alex and Ani will donate a fixed amount of money to the cause at the beginning of the partnership. Kate Shaffer, Charity by Design representative in Salt Lake city Utah says, “CBD used to work with organizations that aligned with their three main focus areas: education, conservation and health. They have now expanded this to better meet the needs of our community and the wishes of our clients. We now work with organizations whose mission aligns with empowerment, sustainability, wellness, creativity and action.”

Along with sales donations from the bangles, Alex and Ani storefronts are encouraged to participate in community outreach. They participate in Charity by Design events along with volunteering their time.

Charity by Design events are held in store and specifically highlight a certain charity. “Our in-store events provide a unique way for customers and consumers to give back. Alex and Ani hopes to inspire a new generation of philanthropists that support conscious consumerism. During these events Alex and Ani donates 15% of the total sales to the organization of choice,” says Shaffer. These events can last from a two-hour time span to a full day. 15% of sales throughout that time period go back to the charity.

Events not only highlight charities that are currently partnered with Charity by Design, but non-profits in the community. Some examples of charities in the community that Alex and Ani Salt Lake City hold events for include Light the Night, Labs for Liberty and Big Brothers Big Sisters. These events bring in heavy foot traffic because not only regular customers shop during the time, but supporters of the charity come as well. Since 2011 more than 3,500 events have taken place, providing over 8,400,000 dollars donated through sales and over 1,200,000 dollars donated.

One of the more popular events held each year is for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. The employees all wear yellow and pink and decorate the store according to those colors. Lemonade is offered to customers while they shop and there is a table of sweet treats in the front to lure in potential consumers. Alex’s Lemonade Stand is a popular charity because it supports childhood cancer research. Customers feel better about themselves when they realize they are not only purchasing something for themselves, but also donating to a charity.

Employees are encouraged to donate their time as well. Shaffer explains, “As part of our commitment to the community and our associates, Alex and Ani allows associates to volunteer their time to charitable non-profit organizations during their workday with pay. ” This program not only teaches employees the importance of volunteering, it directly impacts local charities by providing volunteers to help.

Total donations through Charity by Design since 2011 are over 30.5 million, 23.7 million of that coming directly through sales. To put it in perspective, 11% of Alex and Ani’s revenue is donated to charities. Charity by Design also donates on average 100 products monthly to organizations for charity purposes. CBD donates time, money and volunteers to charities all over the world. Charity by Design is quickly fulfilling their aim to make the world a better place and help provide consumers with a simple way to give back. You can purchase these unique bangles on the Alex and Ani website