I’m not going to give too much of an introduction to this guest post from Dave as I believe he says it all. I’ve followed his excellent blog The Ultimate Blogging Toolkit for some time now and when I found out about his new venture, I asked for more information. I think this is an excellent way to deal with donor fatigue and I hope you enjoy the read.
To kick off this guest post, I would first like to thank Emm for the opportunity. She asked if I would be interested in writing this guest post based on a recent comment I made on her other blog, Emm in London (Running for Autism). I am honored to have this opportunity to share the work I am doing to help non-profit organizations and hope you find the information useful. I also hope you will see that my passion for helping others aligns well with Emm's passion for understanding critical world events, as her blog is so aptly named.
First, I would like to take this opportunity to share some background on me. It should provide a basis for why I started Click. Buy. Help. and help you understand my motivation.
I just retired from eight years on my local School Board. The final two years were as Board Chair and the two years prior to that, Vice Chair. During that time, I had opportunities to act as the Board Liaison to our Education Foundation. I have served on the Board of Directors of a summer camp for children and still volunteer there from time to time. My professional responsibilities as a Corporate Communications Manager include charitable outreach and civic affairs. I have always fantasized over winning the lottery because I believe the real fun would be in giving a large part of the winnings away to others. Without a winning lottery ticket in sight, my next best avenue for helping others is Click. Buy. Help.
Before we get to this post's topic about fighting donor fatigue, a description of my site and how it works would be in order.
Recently, I started a web site at www.ClickBuyHelp.org devoted to helping non-profit organizations. Click. Buy. Help. establishes affiliate relationships with online retailers and earns commissions for sending traffic - and sales - to their sites. From the commissions I earn from those sales, I make donations to the organizations with which I partner.
I intend to help organizations with marketing materials to assist them in two ways: 1) in the normal promotion and operation of their organization, and 2) to help them encourage their supporters to begin their online buying from the organization's page on Click. Buy. Help. I also plan to add a wide variety of online retailers from which supporters can choose. For now, I have started with Amazon and Endless, which by themselves cover a wide area.
Here's how it works
An organization first registers on Click. Buy. Help. and I create their own page on my site. The organizaton promotes that page to their supporters. When the organization's supporters buy products online, as they normally would from say, Amazon.com, they simply start from the organization's page on Click. Buy. Help. Clicking through from there allows the retailer to track who sent them the traffic and I earn a commission on their purchase. Then I make a donation to the organization.
The most significant benefit from partnering with Click. Buy. Help is the new revenue stream generated for the non-profit organization. Loyal supporters are NOT asked to donate any additional funds, but they are asked to simply start their regular online purchasing from the organization's page. One important note: for my financial model to work, I must obtain a tax deduction for my contribution. As a result, I am only able to contribute to U.S.-based organizations who have valid non-profit status with the I.R.S. (Internal Revenue Service) as a 501(c)(3) organization. However, the other resources posted on my site may benefit any humanitarian organization, regardless of where it may be based.
This brings me (finally) to the topic of this post - donor fatigue. The site, Donor Fatigue, defines donor fatigue as, "a general weariness and diminished public response to requests for aid to needy people or donations to charitable causes." In my opinion, a very appropriate definition. Simply, the more times one exercises one's arm, the more fatigued it gets.
The worldwide financial crisis was a significant factor in slowing, and subsequently holding back the global economy from growing. Only recently has the U.S. begun seeing some dim glimmers of hope. As the economy contracted, so did the philanthropic gifts made to needy organizations. However, in spite of the economic challenges, the earthquake in Haiti on January 12 saw record-setting donations through the American Red Cross. Donors can text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10. The campaign has been very successful due to its simplicity - your donation just appears on your phone bill.
On the heels of the Haitian disaster was the earthquake in Chile on February 27. The American Red Cross and many other humanitarian organizations around the world continue to plead for support, but as you can imagine, donors are beginning to tire. They are continuing with their texting campaign. Supporters can direct a $10 donation to Chilean support by texting "CHILE" to 90999.
The American Red Cross can be reached at http://newsroom.redcross.org/.
There is plenty of rhetoric in the media about the ever-growing "donor fatigue" syndrome. As the climate and socio-political temperatures both heat up (yes, I believe the world is warming), strife in all parts of the world continues to grow and the need for assistance with it. Donors' fatigue also continues to grow as the requests for financial assistance from humanitarian organizations continues unabated.
Click. Buy. Help. is positioned as an alternative to asking supporters to "dig deeper."
One of the many challenges non-profit organizations face is in growing its revenue. Similar to the basic rule of investing, organizations must also diversify. They must grow not only the number of donors, but also the type of donors. The thinking is that when the economy deals a blow to one group, maybe another is doing better. But donors are only one revenue source. Ultimately, it is the revenue sources that must be diversified. Click. Buy. Help. simply offers a new, additional, and more diversified source of revenue.
If you are a regular reader of Emm's A Passion to Understand, you are of like mind - you care passionately about what goes on around you, you strive to understand everything you can about the issues of the day, and by default, how your passion can help others. The fortunate part of that equation is your selfless desire to help another human being. Unfortunately, those who need our help outnumber us immensely. That imbalance simply challenges all of us to "work smarter" (since we're already working pretty hard to help others!)
Stop by Click. Buy. Help. and weigh in on some of the techniques I share to help non-profit organizations improve their operations. Your perspectives will add value and would be appreciated.
Again, many thanks to Emm for this opportunity. But more importantly, many thanks to anyone reading this post. If you are, you are among those of us who are outnumbered!
Click. Buy. Help.
"Helping non-profit organizations earn commissions through your online purchases"
David Wiederrich lives in Gresham, Oregon in the United States. He is the author of the following blogs:
Click. Buy. Help. is a site devoted to helping non-profit organizations through the commissions earned from online purchases.
The Ultimate Blogging Toolkit provides blogging and marketing resources for the average blogger and business.
Energication is a site devoted to supporting the growth of renewable energy education in our schools.
The New Blogged Word is just a fun, irreverent, and sometimes random look at life.