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Have you thought of using the online auction site eBay as your next major fundraiser?
I have, and it was a huge success!
Like many other businesses the fundraising business has seen an incredible change since the internet. Everyday there are new tools, softwares and websites that are making fundraising not only easier but a lot more fun. One of my favorite fundraising sites is eBay
There are many different ways you can take advantage of eBay's services and use it as a fundraiser:
? Selling your member's junk - This is something I did to fundraise for my son's preschool. I collected items from member's attics, closets and garages and sold them on eBay. We rose over $3,000 for our little preschool, which was a lot for us. However, even though I got volunteers to help, it was way too much work. At the time, eBay was my business and I knew what I was doing. I cannot imagine someone who does not know anything about the collecting business or selling on eBay to attempt this.
? Selling your member's junk using a professional eBay seller - Since eBay has become a major profession for many people, there are businesses today that specialize in selling for you. Find such a business and have them do all the work. All you have to do is collect the stuff and they will advertise, sell, and ship the items for you and send you a check. You can find a seller on eBay that lives near you through eBay's Trading Assistant program, or use a service like Auction Drop or I-Soldit.
? New items donated by members - Many times members will donate products rather than money. eBay makes it easy for you to sell these items. Not only will you probably get a better price in a market that has millions of buyers but also this will increase your organization's visibility and potentially attract new members.
? Sell local and national gift certificates - I've done this with the preschool auction. Besides selling member's stuff, we collected local and national gift certificates. Most businesses are very generous and are happy to give you a certificate. If the business that donated the certificate had a website, I put a link to it from the eBay ad. The great thing about listing gift certificates on eBay is that you don't have to take a picture and the description is easy. However, You MUST advertise the gift certificates: Besides sending out emails to all our members with instructions to forward the email to family and friends, I placed a free ad in the local Santa Cruz Market newsgroups advertising the auction and the gift certificates. You can find newsgroups that are specific for your area.
? Sell a calendar or cookbook etc. - eBay has a cool section especially for charity organizations. Go to eBay and check it out by looking for Charity Auctions. I've seen some organizations sell their calendar, cookbook, or whatever on eBay. If you have a supply of these items you can have an ongoing auction selling that item (you would have to re-list it every 7 days).
This has great potential for a nonprofit that helps more universal causes like homelessness, Cancer/AIDS, ecology and so forth. Signing up on eBay as a nonprofit organization gets you listed under a special section. Some people browse these lists and will often buy something from the organization just for the support. eBay also supplies nonprofits with their own web page describing the organization with links back to their major site.
? Encourage members and friends who sell on eBay to sign up for eBay's new Giving Works - eBay's Giving Works program helps sellers to easily donate a portion of their sale to their favorite nonprofit. The seller chooses a nonprofit from a list (or can add a new one) and pledges to a certain percentage of the sale to that nonprofit. The pledged percentage is taken out automatically by eBay after the auction. It could not be any easier.
Frustrated with the usual unorganized school fundraisers Suzanne Wouk turned to the internet in search of a better way. To her amazement and delight, she found so many new and exciting ways to fundraise that she started the site FundraisingMom.com in order to share the information and ideas with others.
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