I’ve made it my mission of late to find good online cause marketing options for small companies and causes.
Thanks to the Cause Marketing Forum Conference two weeks ago, I’ve discovered two more. I’m a little embarrassed that I’m just learning of MissionFish and Benevity. But better late than never, right?
MissionFish, which was just acquired by eBay in May, has a tagline that says it all: “The way to fundraise on eBay.”
There are several ways to use MissionFish within eBay. Nonprofits can sell in-kind items online and collect the money. eBay users can also make a donation directly to the nonprofit via PayPal. Finally, eBay sellers can list any item for sale and have a portion or percentage donated to a nonprofit.
I’m curious if a company has ever used MissionFish to raise money for a cause. We know that a cause can sell things on MissionFish and earn a donation, but can a company do it for them? For many years, HomeGoods, a national chain of home design stores, donated home furnishings to our annual silent auction. We raised some good money auctioning off those fashionable pillows, lamps and rugs. HomeGoods only donated once a year, but what if it was willing to set up a small online store with MissionFish so they could sell surplus items for us throughout the year? This would give businesses like HomeGoods greater exposure beyond our one night silent auction.
I’ll ask MissionFish co-founder Clam Lorenz to answer this question in the comments.
The best thing about MissionFish, of course, is that it has the backing of eBay users. You have an instant audience of engaged buyers! That’s powerful. Regardless of whether the cause or company does the selling, MissionFish is a tool I would add to your cause marketing toolbox.
MissionFish is also cause marketing approved. MissionFish and eBay have won not one but two Cause Marketing Halo Awards. And with good reason. eBay users have raised more than $230 million with MissionFish.
But what if HomeGoods doesn’t want to sell their products for a cause on eBay? What if they want to suppot good causes right from their own online shopping site? [It's a hypothetical question as HomeGoods doesn't currently have an online store.] That’s when HomeGoods calls Benevity.
- Using Benevity, any retailer can turn their online shopping site into a charitable giving machine. A portion or percentage can be donated to good causes, or shoppers can add a donation at checkout, if they choose.
- Since it operates outside of the eBay platform, Benevity offers more flexibility and options for partners. They can offer real-time matching offers and charitable gift cards to motivate consumers to give, among other things. Benevity also allows shoppers to choose their cause from 750,000 charities in the United States and 85,000 in Canada.
Check out how iStockphoto is using Benevity as an online cause marketing platform. Purchases from shoppers trigger a donation from the photo site.
According to Benevity, the next step is for iStockphoto is to allow photographers to differentiate their imagery by whether it gives back, enabling a portion of the purchase price or royalties to be directed to charities chosen by buyers and sellers. This is ideal. The company donates when consumers buy credit packages, but individual users can leverage the platform to support causes about which they care.
I suspect the question you have about online giving is the same one I have for MissionFish and Benevity. This works well with large, established companies and causes – like the example of iStockphoto for Benevity, or Goodwill for MissionFish. But are both platforms truly easy, affordable and effective for the small businesses and nonprofits that are eager to use online shopping sites for good?