eBay, the ubiquitous auction website, offers more than a platform to sell off old clothes or knickknacks you no longer want. It has become a powerful forum for nonprofits to raise funds.
The Nonprofit Times reports that eBay for Charity helped nonprofits generate a record $102 million in 2018. Many charities use eBay as a fundraising auction platform. Warren Buffet, the famous financial expert, helped raise $3.3 million for a human services charity auction via eBay. The charity auctioned the opportunity to enjoy a meal with the financial whiz (and the chance to ask him for tips!). Other charities have raised more modest funds, but many are using eBay as a reliable fundraising outlet.
eBay for Charity: Four Opportunities
eBay for Charity offers nonprofits four ways to raise funds via the site:
- List your nonprofit on the website: Individuals can find and ‘favorite’ the nonprofit of their choice. When they shop on eBay, a portion of the proceeds is sent to their selected nonprofit.
- Donate directly: eBay sellers can check a box off during the listing setup process to indicate that a portion of their fees and/or sale goes towards a charity.
- Charity auctions: Nonprofits can set up a charity auction on their own, or a series of charity auctions, using the platform.
- Direct sales: You can also set up shops and stores on the popular site to sell goods with the proceeds going to the organization.
Does It Work?
Many people express skepticism about the site’s ability to help charities fundraise. After all, isn’t eBay a place for good bargains, discounts, and used goods?
Yes, and no. Over the past several years, the site has evolved as a viable shopping platform, a place where entrepreneurs can set up their online stores at a fraction of the cost of self-hosted sites and stores. Many run their entire businesses via eBay, either selling new goods, reselling goods, or using a combination of sales and auctions.
Warren Buffet’s charity raised over $3.3 million, as we mentioned above. Are other nonprofits raising money using the site’s features for charities? A press release issued by the company makes it clear that yes, they are:
- The Prince’s Trust, a U.K.-based nonprofit headed by Prince Charles, raised about $138,000 in just 24-hours. The campaign promises to help budding entrepreneurs ages 18-24.
- Homes for Our Troops, a USA-based nonprofit that helps veterans, raised $160,000 to build specially designed handicapped accessible homes for severely injured veterans. The nonprofit used a 10-day auction format to raise funds.
- Seattle Goodwill: Goodwill stores offer clothing, furniture, and other items at retail shops around the nation. However, the Seattle store recognized the power of reaching a wider audience and listed their items in an online store powered by eBay. The store quickly realized that they were making much more money online than in their stores, with goods selling far above the asking price.
These are just a handful of stories shared by the company to demonstrate how different nonprofits use the site to raise funds. But doesn’t it give you some great ideas? For example, you can:
- Run a celebrity auction: Like Warren Buffet’s donated dinner date, how about seeking a local celebrity for a charity meal auction?
- List donated items: List donated items in an online store or auction site and promote the event to your email list. Make sure you have a suitable donor contact list and donor management software to run your campaign.
- Ask your followers and fans to select your charity as their desired nonprofit on the site. This way, whenever they purchase on eBay, a portion goes automatically to your nonprofit.
- Encourage people to list items for charitable sale and donate the profits to your organization. It’s fast, easy, and straightforward.
Are you ready to try eBay for Charities? Sign up on the site, and let the fundraising begin!
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.