Fundraising does not have to mean car washes, cookies, popcorn, auctions or just plain begging anymore. It is no longer necessary to spend hours going door to door, standing on a street corner with a sign, or harassing your co-workers, friends or neighbors just to raise a few dollars. The days of staring at a pile of boxes filled with candy (or maybe now candy with ants), or a stack of coupon books, or having your closet filled with cleaning supplies that really are not for you can be over.
Technology has its good and its bad, of course, but if you, or your children or your friends are responsible for raising money, or contributing to a PTO fundraising idea effort, technology can be a real lifesaver. Today, you can raise more money, with less effort and with less risk than you ever could before by simply running an effective email campaign…and if you want to get a little creative, you can even go well beyond that.
There are millions of products of various kinds being offered for sale online. Many, many of these products can be downloaded directly to a computer as soon as a credit card or PayPal payment is approved. Of these product, virtually all of these offer what are called Affiliate Programs.
An Affiliate Program simply pays a commission when someone drives a buyer to a site that is offering a product for sale. Generally these programs work like this: 1) You look for an Affiliate link, button or page on the site and go there; 2) You “sign up” as an affiliate-if there is a charge to sign up, walk away, there are way too many free affiliate programs ; 3) You will be assigned a unique affiliate number and generally an affiliate link; 4) You have people go to your link, which lets the selling site know that this person was directed there by you…and once that person buys, you get a commission. There are variations on this, and you should always read the details of the Affiliate Program implementation, but in general, it is very simple.
Once you have your link, or other method of directing people to a selling site and being assured that you will get credit, you are ready to go. Get out the list of email addresses of all your friends, and send them an email explaining you are raising money for your cause and that x% of the proceeds of the sale of the product will be going to site. Explain how good and/or useful the product is and how worthwhile the cause is, and thank them. Finally, ask them to buy the product and to forward your email on to their friends.
That is all there is to it. You collect the commissions for your cause. You never left your house. You never held inventory. You were effective and efficient.
There are just a few things to look for when you select a product and sign up as an affiliate:
1) Make sure the product suits the cause. If you are raising funds for schools or churches, look for products that promote, encourage or facilitate wholesome family values;
2) Make sure that you earn at least 25% commission on the product, and that 25% represents at least $10 per sale annually (this guideline is here only because there are so many products and offerings that it is not necessary to settle for less than this);
3) Look for products that renew on a regular basis and on which you continue to get paid commissions on renewals-by doing this you have actually established a revenue stream for your organization.
If you want to get creative, and you are bound and determined to get out and do more, once you have your link, print flyers of cards with a brief message and your link and put them on doors, cars, or leave them on store counters. You’ll generate a lot of sales that way.
Fundraising is not what it used to be. You can be the hero of your charitable cause by leading them into the new age of affiliate fundraising.
Launched in 2009 in cooperation with Milabra and based on their proprietary analytic technology, Online Chaperone believes that families have the absolute right to have a G-Rated internet experience in their homes, that they have the right to know with certainty that no one in the family need to be exposed to unwanted images, adult content or pornography and that the Internet is intended to be fun, safe and clean, and that it should encourage learning and socializing without exposing innocent eyes to unwelcome pictures. Online Chaperone offers URL, image and text analysis products.