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How to Hold an eBay Fundraiser

Moving your organization's fundraiser onto eBay can fundraising simpler


How to Hold an eBay Fundraiser

If past fundraising efforts have left you either under- or overwhelmed, maybe it's time to give an eBay fundraiser a try.

Image: iQoncept / Fotolia

If you represent a nonprofit or charitable organization, an eBay fundraiser can be a great way to raise needed money. eBay fundraisers:

  • Often raise more money than would be raised with the same goods locally.

  • Eliminate the need for an "event day" venue and staff.

  • Can be done very inexpensively with great results.

  • Involve anyone in the world in your fundraiser, not just a limited audience of locals.

If you're thinking about holding a fundraiser for your organization, think about using eBay to help do some of the heavy lifting. Here's how:

  • Plan. Choose your dates for the sale period. Unless you plan to turn your fundraiser into a continuous revenue-generating operation, this should be of a limited time—usually seven or ten days, depending on the listing durations you choose—which makes it easier to market and manage.

  • Join eBay. Your organization will need to open an eBay account before a fundraiser can be held. It's generally not a good idea to recycle your own eBay ID or the eBay ID of someone else associated with the organization if the account is used to buy and sell apart from fundraising efforts—this kind of mixing can make paperwork difficult to do and draw things like tax-exempt statuses into doubt.

  • Solicit donations. Unless you become a Giving Works charity, you'll need something to sell in order to raise funds on eBay. Generally speaking, this means donations. The two classic ways to get this are to have members of your organization or community give things to be sold on eBay or to approach local businesses (the more local, the better) for donated goods to be auctioned or sold in support of your activity or cause.

  • Establish a web presence for the listings you'll create. Either ensure that you meet the requirements and then open an eBay store or create a prominent link on your organization's own website to the list of items you currently have for sale (you can find this link on your feedback profile page, on the far right, labeled "View items for sale"). The goal is to get an easily remembered web address for your listings that you can publicize, either an eBay store address, or the address of your organization (which can then be linked to your eBay items for sale).

  • Advertise and/or generate awareness. Do your best to ensure that the local community (or any other community that may be interested) knows about your fundraising event. Hang announcements and posters, circulate flyers, issue local press released, have representatives appear on radio, and do whatever else it takes to get awareness of the coming sale up. In your marketing materials, direct readers and listeners to the web address where your item listings can be found. Be sure to give the date when donated items will go on sale. Use information about donated items as "teasers" to hint at what sorts of things buyers might find on sale in support of your cause or organization.

  • List items for sale. Once everything else is in place, list your items for sale. If you have mostly new items with easily determinable values, list them at fixed prices; if your iems are mostly older or without easily determinable values, list them as auctions. Be sure that your item description mentions that this is a fundraising effort for your organization and that it includes the information required for charitable listings in eBay's guidelines on fundraising.

  • Follow up with the public. Once your fundraiser has finished and the results have been tallied, be sure to publicize the success and details about the funds raised; this helps to build yet more public awareness and to lay the early marketing groundwork for your next fundraiser!

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