Affinity Marketing: Buy to Give
Unquestionably, fundraising has become extremely challenging given the current economy. However, Americans still want to contribute to their favorite charities, churches, colleges, hospitals, etc. The goal for nonprofits must be to give their supporters ways to do so when money is tight.
One primary way to do that is through affinity marketing, which enables consumers to purchase ordinary products/services and automatically generate contributions to their favorite nonprofits. Understanding the best practices to apply in order to achieve desired fundraising levels from affinity marketing is essential.
In order to understand how affinity ?marketing should work, you need to understand what would contribute to a program failing. Specifically, there are many mis-?conceptions regarding affinity marketing that should be dispelled. Among them:
? The nonprofit has little to do with the success of an affinity-marketing program, and if the nonprofit does actively promote the program, it could jeopardize its ?relationship with supporters. In reality, the nonprofit does have an important role in the success of an affinity program. It must be proactive in communicating the program and educating its supporters. Taking this initiative will not compromise its relationships with its constituents. To the contrary, a nonprofit that demonstrates its use of sophisticated strategies to raise funds is valued and respected more by supporters than one seen as inefficient and unaware of the latest methodologies and technologies to facilitate fundraising.
? Affinity-marketing programs introduce tax or regulatory hurdles. As with any activity involving contributions, nonprofits can be guided by their accountants and other financial advisers regarding how to set up fully compliant affinity-marketing programs that will not introduce adverse tax consequences.
? An affinity-marketing program can replace regular fundraising, capital campaigns, annual pledge drives, etc. Introducing an affinity-marketing program into the mix doesn't mean you should place other fundraising activities on the back burner. It's not a replacement for those activities; it's a tool that works on its own and in support of other fundraising activities.