Fundraisers to Donors: 'Buy4' Me!
Think of it as the charity donation tin next to the cash register. Buy4.com is the tin can's online cousin.
Nonprofits can alert donors that when they shop online at various retailers using Buy4.com, eligible purchases will provide commissions of 1 percent to 30 percent to their favorite charities.
In other words, Buy4.com is taking part of that purchase price out of the register and plunking it into the charity's tin can.
Donors control the free sign-up process, going to Buy4.com and choosing their favorite nonprofits or adding their own — like schools and churches. Then the donors click through to their online shopping destinations.
Buy4.com keeps track of the money raised. The company's president, Kevin Manley, elaborates:
FundRaising Success: Who does the marketing to let donors know about Buy4.com — the nonprofits or Buy4.com?
Kevin Manley: To benefit the most from Buy4, the nonprofit needs to tell their donors about Buy4 and remind them to utilize their branded shopping portal [YOURCAUSE.Buy4.com]. We are also marketing Buy4 nationally so everyone can choose a cause to support through their online shopping.
FS: How does Buy4.com recommend fundraisers let donors know about Buy4.com?
KM: E-mail and social media are key. Fundraisers should utilize their existing channels of communication, as well as explore Twitter and Facebook to stay in front of their supporters and periodically remind them to shop through Buy4 to support them. A church should place inserts in their bulletins and make periodic announcements. We also remind Buy4 members to shop for their cause and provide an area for them to monitor their giving. We encourage and incentivize Buy4 members to tell everyone they know about Buy4 through e-mail and social media and give as a team.
FS: What should fundraisers let donors know about how Buy4.com will use their data? (Do retailers buy it?) How does Buy4.com pass donor data along to the nonprofits?
KM: Buy4 does not handle any transactions, so we maintain very little information about each donor. Buy4 provides an online management interface for fundraisers so they can view aggregate supporter totals and donation information over specified time periods. We do not collect individual donor information.
FS: How did Buy4.com decide which 1.5 million registered nonprofits would be listed in its database for donors to pick? How do charities join the list?
KM: Our initial database comes directly from the [Internal Revenue Service] Publication 78, which is a list of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Groups not on this list can add themselves to the Buy4 database through our website.
FS: How do fundraisers help facilitate the Buy4.com process? What's the process for donors, and how much money comes through to the charity?
KM: A fundraiser simply has to let their existing supporters know where to find their branded shopping portal. We provide a unique Web address at YOURCAUSE.Buy4.com. Every eligible purchase at over 1,300 stores generates from 1 [percent to] 30 percent commission to the charity or cause.
FS: What sort of reception is Buy4.com getting from fundraisers?
KM: A majority of fundraisers are surprised to find out that a company like Buy4 exists. We have spoken to many charities, churches, schools, foundations, clubs, etc. Many have never heard about “charitable shopping” but are excited about letting their supporters know about it. They expect it to be more difficult than it is. The only work on their part is to tell their supporters.
Heather Fletcher is senior editor of FS sister publication Target Marketing.