Posted by Bryan on October 20, 2008
It’s just over 12 months since I posted news of Oxfam launching an online charity shop offering donated items from its network of highstreet charity shops and the great news is that in its first year this volunteer-staffed online initiative has apparently raised £5 million.
Oxfam’s news release announcing this great success explains that the shop offers a range of new products as well as gifts from its extremely successful Oxfam Unwrapped virtual gifts catalogue – so I’m not clear quite how much the virtual gifts income might have underpinned this first year performance. However, the 12 month donated goods sales data is still really impressive, including 4,000 books and CDs, 1,200 bags, and 3,000 dresses and skirts.
The site currently attracts over 30,000 shoppers per week, with 100,000 product listings including donated stock sourced from 50 Oxfam shops around the country – and the plan for 2009 is to increase this to 250,000 products.
According to a recent report by retail specialists Verdict Research, Internet sales currently represent 6.7% of all retail spend in the UK, totaling £19.4bn – but are forecast to grow by 129% over the next four years. This compared to only 5% growth in high street retail.
With this in mind, even taking into account the effect of the current economic situation on consumer spending, in the medium to long-term it looks like online charity shops such as Oxfam is pioneering here could be an important source of income growth for those charities currently running traditional high street charity shops.
Alternately, if this type of e-commerce operation seems out of reach for your organisation then, as I mentioned in my earlier post about the Oxfam launch, there’s always eBay for Charity – which has undergone a significant refresh over the last year and is well worth a look.
Posted in Online fundraising, Online retail | Tagged: Charity Shop, ecommerce, Oxfam, Oxfam Unwrapped | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on October 3, 2008
Following the great success of the original US GlobalGiving site, which has raised over $12 million since launch in 2001 by offering individual donors the opportunity to support specific grassroots development projects run by a range of specialist organisations, a UK version of the site has now launched.
GlobalGiving.co.uk has partnered with an interesting mix of charities to offer UK donors a choice from over 500 projects in 70 countries. There are a few large brands like Help The Aged and VSO, but the majority are fascinating small specialist organisations like The Freeplay Foundation, PhotoVoice, and Riders for Health.
This mix creates a very distinctive feel to the project-specific content on the site – which forms the heart of the whole donor experience. When you read through the detailed project proposals from these organisations you feel not only that you know how your donation is going to be used, but that it will really make an important difference to the work of specialists doing great things out there in the field. Which, of course, is exactly what donors want to feel these days before parting with their cash.
For example there’s Satellife, who need £17,741 to ship 700 donated PDAs loaded with medical software to medical students graduating from Makerere University in Uganda so they can have access to the latest medical information without having to leave their patients and travel back to the city. As I type the project has received £539 from 10 donors – and the site is encouraging me to become number 11. It’s a highly engaging experience that feels somehow different from that achieved by the equivalent project content on the sites of large development charities.
Add to this an attractive and easy to navigate website, automated Gift Aid reclaim, a gift certificate service, and widget-based integration with a host of social media sites to help donors publicise their chosen project and GlobalGiving.co.uk adds-up to a great online supporter environment – and one which bigger charities with the resources to develop their own branded project fundraising portals could learn a lot from.
Thinking ahead, the GlobalGiving.co.uk launch raises a range of strategic questions relating to the impact such fundraising marketplaces might have on the future of online giving. Are they a significant threat to the large charities who used to have the upper-hand in online giving because only they had the resources to provide sophisticated fundraising websites? If so, how will the big brand charities respond – by offering competing sites which aim to provide a better supporter experience or promoting their projects through multi-brand marketplaces? Will they grow the donor market or cannibalise?
Then there is also the question of whether the impact of such sites will be felt by organisations across all causes, or if such marketplaces will only really be effective where the work is easily packaged into smaller projects. So, great for Community Development, but not for causes dependent on large-scale projects like Disaster Relief or Medical Research?
One thing’s for sure. Online and offline, today’s donors are demanding more control over how their donation is used, more evidence of the impact their support achieves, and a more personal supporter experience overall. As a sector we’ve known this for many years now and the opportunities to address these demands online have been discussed in great detail – but perhaps it will take a new element of competition from brands like GlobalGiving to really get things moving on turning the opportunities into significant new income.
Posted in Fundraising, Online fundraising, Online retail | Tagged: Global Giving, GlobalGiving, GlobalGiving.co.uk, Online fundraising | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on September 22, 2007
Last week Oxfam UK announced the launch of Britain’s first online charity shop at oxfam.org.uk/shop.
The shop apparently features an initial 50,000 donated items selected from Oxfam’s chain of highstreet charity shops, all having their details documented and uploaded by volunteers.
With various searchable categories (Clothes & Accessories, Music & Movies, etc.), ‘volunteer’s faves’ and a ‘donated this week’ list for regular shoppers, the site has a great feel and is very easy to navigate and browse. The charity plans to increase the number of donated items on sale to 120,000 by next spring, which it says should raise around £2 million per year.
If you’re a fundraiser without Oxfam-level resources but still keen to capitalise on the opportunity offered by such online charity shopping then you should take a look at eBay for Charity – which provides a range of ways to use the eBay ecommerce platform to raise money for organisations of all shapes and sizes.
Posted in Online retail | 1 Comment »