Has your nonprofit set up a wish list on Amazon - or some other big online retailer - only to leave you asking "Where are all my in-kind donations?"
You are not alone. Unfortunately, big online retailer wish lists like Amazon are good for the retailer - not so much for your nonprofit. In fact, most end up being an exercise in wishful thinking.
There are 4 good reasons why Amazon wish lists are more wishful thinking than wish-fulfilled results. I'm going to tell you about them. And more importantly, I'm going to tell you what you can do about it to improve your in-kind giving results.
1. Believe it or not, every American does NOT have an Amazon account
Amazon Prime has 105 million registered accounts in the U.S. That is a big number ... except that actually, it isn't. Why? Because it is only a little more than half of your target market for online wish list web page purchases. There are 194 million adults ages 18-64.
Maybe your intended donor has an Amazon account, but maybe not. By using an Amazon wish list, your nonprofit is keeping 50% of your donor potential from ever reaching your needs list. Don't you want to reach them all?
2. Hidden surprises, complicated distractions
Let's dig into those potential donors who do not have an Amazon account. What happens when they try to give to you? Unfortunately, Amazon forces the user into a new sign up process. As in "Surprise! - you can't give to them until you give US your data."
At a time when consumers demand greater transparency, simpler workflows, and better experiences, Amazon is making it MORE difficult for YOUR donors to give to YOU!
Somebody tell me again, how is that helping?
3. No donor data
Quick question: What's one of the top reasons why donors say they do not give again to a charity?
Answer: They were never thanked.
Makes sense. Follow up question: So what lamebrain charity isn't thanking donors?
Answer: The charity that can't get donor information in order to thank its donors. And if you are using an Amazon wish list, that's you!
Am I being too harsh? I don't think so. If you haven't really thought about this issue with your Amazon wish list, let me fill you in. When a donor makes a purchase off of your Amazon wish list, the donor fills in all of their information, giving it to Amazon. But YOU, the recipient charity, never see the data.
Did you know? Amazon keeps the donor data for their own marketing and data-mining purposes. Amazon doesn't even share it with you.
And if you cannot thank your donors, the probability that they give again drops and drops and drops. Ugh!
4. No tips, no forums, no quick-start templates
Let's say that your nonprofit has used an Amazon wish list - just for argument sake. And let's say that somebody actually makes a purchase that is donated to your charity, (although you have no idea who it was, when the purchase was made, or when it will arrive). But something is going to arrive at some point. Good.
Now, what else are you missing out on? Is Amazon helping you to create that next great wish list that is tailored to your needs, following best practices, or providing quick-start templates? Well, no, no, and no.
With an Amazon wish list, you get no best practices, no "wish list tip sheets". And there is no Facebook Community Forum of peers who might help you with great ideas. And there is no Community Impact Manager standing by to help you in a pinch. In other words, nobody cares about you, your nonprofit, or your donors.
Is it really that bad?
Well, let's check. Quick recap.
You created a wish list using that retailer site. Interested donors may have found you there. they may or may not have a retailer account that lets them give. If not, your donor is being redirected to create an account (for the retailer's benefit). Good news if the donor hasn't given up - maybe - a purchase is made. But you don't know who made the donation. You can't thank the donor.
Did you know? Commercial customer retention rates average better than 90%. Nonprofit donor retention rates are below 50%. Donor retention begins with communication, and communication begins with "Thank you for your gift."
The big retailer, however, will be able to spam your one-time donor repeatedly with the new purchase data they collected from a single gift to your charity ... made by the donor who may never give to your charity again ... not that you will know ... because you don't know who they are to begin with.
Sound like a fulfilling donor experience? We don't think so either.
Okay, I'm convinced. What can I do about it?
Glad you asked. Smart charities CAN do something about it. In fact, lots of them ARE doing something about it every day, week, month. Smart charities are choosing RightGift.
RightGift offers a FREE account to nonprofits to manage wish lists and fundraising campaigns. Free to charities just like yours. It's easy.
- Create a wish list from seasonal giving templates.
- Choose products from leading retailers like Walmart, Target, Petco, Home Depot and more.
- Customize your wish list to help you obtain those hard to get gifts and supplies that you need.
- Even consult with one RightGift's Community Impact Specialists to maximize the impact of your wish list campaign. Because your success is our success!
- Donors do not need special retail accounts to make a gift.
- And once a gift is made, donors can share their contact information with you so that you can thank them and stay in touch.
Best of all, RightGift is totally transparent, completely secure, and so easy to use. We share donor info with you, the intended recipient. We don't store credit card data. And every purchased item is sent directly to your charity from the retailer - no middle man, no price markups.
Wrapping it up ...
RightGift wish lists are changing the way people give. No longer do donors have to fret over "What happened to the money I gave them?" Or "Does my gift even make a difference?"
Does a local animal rescue need more pet food? Send it to them. Does a homeless shelter need more hygiene products to help restore dignity to its clients? Have a package delivered every month. Is a woman and infant clinic chronically running short of necessities like diapers and baby formula? Now you can be the difference maker.
RightGift wish lists give the donor total transparency while giving charities exactly what they need, when they need it. In-kind giving has never been easier. And no big retail site is controlling donor data in order to spam well-intentioned donors.