More and more consumers are getting wise that the way to make a difference is not only to donate well, but to purchase wisely. People are paying attention to what businesses put their money where their mouth is when it comes to supporting social and sustainable endeavors. The movement of companies to begin to give back from their profits to charities that are selected by members, not selected by board members, is considered to be part of the NoGen age. The NoGen age is seeking to get past demographics and recognize that all of us are in this life together and can make an impact. Here are 2 of the top businesses that put their money where their mouth is:

Surprise! Surprise! You better sit down for this one

If you thought that Whole Foods was going to lead the list, you better think again. One of the largest corporate givers is the oft demonized Wal-Mart. Not only do they rank in the top 3, but they are one of the few corporations that have experienced profit loss, expect to experience more profit loss and plan on increasing their charitable donations. Is it a marketing ploy? Not really, you had better find out more about the history of the company to understand why it can be both slammed for labor practices and one of the biggest givers around. The point is, the company is not perfect but is making changes. While it makes changes (and loses some profit share) it isn’t giving up one ounce of its commitment to charity.

A car site with a difference

ManWomanCar isn’t just another car site for enthusiasts; they have managed to meld together a social network with a shared love of cars with a highly effective fundraising system. Members can vote in on charities that a percentage of revenue from the site assisting in car sales will receive. This is almost like Kickstarter meets and throws a party on Facebook. It is the perfect combination of community building elements that use the Internet for all it is worth.

And the one company you think would be on the list but is the secret "enemy"

Sorry all you iPhone and iPad users who think you are doing your bit to help support sustainability by buying Apple products. In 2011, Apple was not only named the “least green” of the tech companies, it chose to withdraw from an international accord that promoted environmental responsibility. They have been scrambling to regain their composure but this is one company that doesn’t put its money where its mouth is unless there is a stellar gain for their own interests.

What’s the moral to the story?

It doesn’t take much to figure out which companies mean what they say. Click on the “about us” tab on almost any site and it will spell out exactly what they do. Don’t fall for marketing that “suggests” that a company cares – look for one that has built its business model around being able to give back. Profits don’t have to be given away, but responsible giving should be coded into the corporate culture.