Lexus and eBay use Social Media for Social Good

By Julie Lamb | @juliedlamb

The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is notoriously the busiest time for charities, and while it’s too early to know exactly how much money all the charities out there will earn from holiday donations this year, one organization that seems headed on a track to success is the Toys For Tots Foundation. Aside from their usual campaigns to encourage people to donate toys or to volunteer to wrap presents, this holiday-themed organization has partnered with Lexus and eBay to help their fundraising efforts through innovative social media campaigns.

Lexus is using their well-known December to Remember sales event to raise money for Toys for Tots. Every time a Facebook orTwitter user shares one of the brand’s “big red bows,” Lexus will donate $5 to Toys for Tots. It is a win-win-win situation: Facebookand Twitter users simply have to be willing to promote Lexus through social media (without paying a dime themselves), Lexus receives some free advertising on social media sites, and Toys for Tots has the opportunity to receive $100,000 from Lexus.  To participate in this program, Facebook users simply need to click on the red bow on Lexus’ December to Remember tab.  Twitter users can use the hashtag #lexusbigredbow. It couldn’t really be any easier to support a great cause without touching your checking account.

eBay, on the other hand, has taken a much more complicated but extremely innovative approach. To inspire people to donate money out of their own pockets, they launched their first Give-A-Toy Store campaign in New York and San Francisco. In each of these cities, eBay installed an interactive toy store window display with popular toys such as a teddy bear and a train. Each toy has a QR code on its tag that people, who have downloaded the eBay mobile app, can scan. Scanning the code causes the toys to “come to life” with adorable animated movements. Each toy represents a different value from $2-$25 that the person who scanned the toy can then donate directly from their phone. For people not in San Fran or NYC, you can visit for a similar experience.

Don’t worry if you don’t want to donate using your own money though, eBay’s Facebook page also has a very fun, and possibly rewarding way to support Toys for Tots. On the Build-A-Toy tab on eBay’s Facebook page, you can customize a toy by changing its color, background, etc in four easy clicks and then share to your Facebok wall. Every time someone shares a toy in this way, eBay will donate $1 (up to $50,000) to Toys for Tots. Furthermore, by simply building a toy you also get entered into a drawing to win a $1,000 shopping spree on eBay!

As of December 17, according to the #lexusbigredbow Twitter stream, they have already raised $15,000 but they have until January 3, 2012 to raise the $100,000 total. And, considering how incredibly simple it is to donate through their campaign, there is a good chance they will be able to earn quite a bit more. eBay hasn’t revealed how much money it’s raised, but with the innovative and adorable way they incorporated Toys for Tots’ mission into their campaign both online and even on the streets of New York and San Francisco, it seems likely that they will be equally successful. The Informal LinkedIn?

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