Hook, Line and Sinker
Almost everyone has something of value crammed in the corner of the attic — an antique lamp, a cuckoo clock or a stack of baseball cards Mom forgot to toss years ago. With the birth of eBay, those dusty throwaways can find new homes. Enter: MissionFish.
Operating under the umbrella of the Points of Light Foundation with its own distinct identity, MissionFish — in collaboration with everyone’s favorite online trading post — provides an opportunity to philanthropic-minded people who are unable to offer significant cash donations but have basements full of gems. By going online, sellers can list their products on eBay Giving Works and donate the proceeds of a sale to charity.
The way it works:
- An eBay seller selects a charity he wishes to support with an online auction.
- MissionFish contacts the organization to ensure that it’s comfortable with receiving proceeds from a particular item. (A cancer-research institute most likely will pass on a collectible lighter; an animal-welfare organization might say no to a fur coat.)
- When a standard eBay Giving Works auction ends, MissionFish gets in touch with the seller to remind him about the pledge. Sellers can click a link in a triggered e-mail to pay MissionFish the amount raised for the designated organization. (On the second Monday after the sale ends, MissionFish automatically charges the seller’s credit card if payment isn’t made.)
- MissionFish collects the donation and holds it for roughly 45 days, as there is a window on eBay when both buyer and seller can collect a refund.
- MissionFish delivers the funds raised to the nonprofit organization via electronic funds transfer. For its efforts, MissionFish keeps $3 plus 2.9 percent of each donation.
When you consider eBay’s formidable presence in the online marketplace and the innovative MissionFish program, it’s a win-win for nonprofits.
According to Clam Lorenz, a spokesman for MissionFish, 2,100 organizations already have registered — for free, mind you — to receive proceeds from eBay Giving Works auctions.