A Bloomin' Success
Flowerpetal.com, an online storefront that sells floral arrangements and gifts, is offering nonprofit organizations a service through which it will build them online storefronts that allow them to keep a portion of the proceeds from flower sales.
Pages are built free of charge by flowerpetal.com and customized to mirror the look and feel of the organization’s Web site — with its logo and navigation — and can be accessed using a personalized URL, e.g., http://chicagoredcross.flowerpetal.com. Twelve percent of the profits made from the sale of the flower arrangements on the Web page goes to the host organization. The company also waives the delivery charge for all purchases.
The service and development of the Web pages is done by flowerpetal.com, which also manages fulfillment, security and funds collection. The company leaves the level and means of promotion of the storefront to each nonprofit.
“We don’t contact their members; we don’t do any direct marketing for these Web sites,” says Bob Tolces, director of nonprofit services for flowerpetal.com. “Essentially the agreement between us and the nonprofit is we give them the means to raise funds via the sale of flowers and gifts. How they promote the site to members and nonmembers or anyone that they want to promote it to is strictly up to them and under their control.”
Most participating nonprofits include a link on their Web site that leads to their flowerpetal Web page, and they promote the site in organizational newsletters. One nonprofit currently using the service is the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, a Chicago-based organization whose mission is to eliminate pediatric cancer and to provide hope and support to those who are affected by it.
The foundation has had a flowerpetal.com storefront for more than a year, since the program’s inception. Susan Mura, director of operations at Bear Necessities, says the program rounds out what the organization has to offer on its Web site, is a nice addition to its fundraising program that requires minimal effort on the part of the organization, and is a no-brainer for donors and consumers.
“It offers another vehicle to fundraise from your Web site,” Mura says. “It gives visitors another avenue to donate to the organization. If you’re going to go order flowers, you might as well do it through us and help us at the same time.”
In addition to 12 percent of each purchase value going to the nonprofit organization, flower customers are given the option during the purchase process to make an additional donation of $10 to $250.
“We find that on average this adds about 8 percent to what the nonprofits realize over the course of the year. So, in a sense, instead of 12 percent, in reality most of them are earning more like 20 percent,” Tolces says.
He estimates that participating organizations can expect to realize roughly $3,000 for every thousand members or donors to whom they promote the program. Organizations have the option to track purchases made on their page using a secure log-in to view who ordered flowers, their contact information, if they made a donation above and beyond their purchase, etc.
The program currently has about 70 participating organizations, including ALS Therapy Development Foundation; National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Illinois Chapter; Salvation Army, Central Territory; and the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. For more information: http://affiliate.flowerpetal.com/nonprofit.