My brother was a college Volley Ball coach. His team held an online auction to raise money to defray team expenses. He hired an auction service to hold the auction and then sent out the team to get donations from local business to be auctioned off.
It worked well and the team raised quite a bit of money for their worthy cause. But they could have realized more profit if the auction service had been less expensive. They did get a lot of support from the community, but there was no long term recognition of the business making the donations.
After the auction was over, the team had no email list of those that had been involved. Without a database they had no way to contact the people that might be interested about their next function.
The online auction service was adequate but expensive and if the team wanted to hold another auction, they had to start from square one again.
If you are a nonprofit looking for a way to bring in funds for your cause Please pay attention to this point. Online business needs good credible links more than they need another plaque on the wall. If you understand this one point you can really make this service a powerful tool for your fund raising AND get business excited about donating the next time you come calling.
...We find the best fund raising efforts for most charities, cost no more than 10 cents to raise a dollar.
As a Search Optimizer and a charity minded businessman, three things occurred to me.
1) What if Business and Charity could work together on fund raising to promote each other?
2) How much more money would be raised for charity if it were leveraged and promoted across the world wide web?
In order for this to work, especially for small non profits where every penny counts, it has to be affordable. So with our service there are no Setup fees, no Listing fees, no maintenance costs. We also didn't want an online business to have to PAY to GIVE something of value away to charity. The product or service they are donating is already an expense for them.
Well right now, no one really knows what tax advantages there may be in charitable donation. We can only approach this from the community of the world wide web. Here are two pre-internet examples.
When our children were young, one of them was on a youth league baseball team. The coach was Rich Waldemar, a local tire store owner. He gave of his time and made every kid on the team feel like a winner. To tell the truth I don’t remember if they ever won a game. Our children are full grown but our whole family still buys all our tires from that Rich.
Then there is the case of our local Ford Dealership, owned by the Diehl family.
They have been in business for over one hundred years. Pretty phenomenal considering that there have been a few times that there were no new cars being made during that time. One of their secrets is that they give a lot to the community. Good service is a lot of it but they also give of their time to support the youth of the area. They have made them selves a valuable part of our corner of the world.
And that is really the point behind what I am trying to say. If you look at the World Wide Web like a community, and you make your business an invaluable part of it, The members of that community will want to support you. You still have to be good at what you do, give good service, but the good will toward your business will add to your visibility and success. Athletes and entertainers that quietly give to help others earn admiration that outlives even them. Bob Hope, gave much of his life to entertaining our troops deployed around the world. In doing so, there is probably no veteran alive that does not honor him with respect.
There is one more really important part of this cooperation between Charity and Business. Being a part of charity establishes trust. In the world of online business, no other single element is so important. If your business looses the trust of the online community, you might as well close the doors and turn out the lights.
Every Online business should understand that everything it can do to build trust and confidence is absolutely critical. One of the great ways to establish that kind of trust is to partner with Charity. Giving to Charity and being recognized for doing so lends confidence to the consumer. It lends faith that the company will be there in the future. It shows conviction to causes outside of itself. Consumers that see the business commitment to a cause share that passion. It becomes more personal.
For Charity, having business donate is nothing new. It has always been essential. But to give recognition for it in a new way that helps promote those that give is to the benefit of both. When Business profits from the exposure it is prompted to repeat the cycle of giving. Success makes it possible.
Your website should point to other websites that would be helpful to your human visitors. These are Out Bound Links.
You also want other websites to point (link) to yours with In Bound Links. Links are what make up the World Wide Web, one website connecting to another. Search Engines use links to determine a websites relevance to that community.
Since the Internet is essentially computers connected to other computers, it is fairly easy to loose sight of who it was built to serve.
Search Engines are only as good as the results they provide humans when they are searching. If a Search result is filled with information the human searcher determines to be irrelevant, the human will try again. If it happens frequently, people switch to a different search engine.
Google is well aware of this fact and it works very hard to keep providing the best, most relevant results to every searcher. So with regard to Links, they rate links in a number of ways. They give more or less power to a link depending on where it originates, what text is used in the link itself. What text is around the link. Is it in context? Is it located on a page with thousands of other links and no text to support them? Can the website the link is coming from be trusted?
Some websites actually have more trust from Search Engines because they are more authoritative. A school for instance, is not selling anything so they get a certain amount of added trust. The same holds true for Military, Government and Nonprofit Organization websites. So links from these sites carry more weight with search engines than say links from business to business because the sites themselves in general represent a very credible, authority organization.
Search Engines as mentioned above want links to be made between websites in a natural way (also known as Organic). What that means is, a search engine doesn’t want to see is pages on a website that do nothing but point to other websites in no organized or useful manner. The only function is to fool the search engine into thinking that the sites they are pointing to are important.
What would be considered a Natural or Organic link relationship is when one website links to another because of some valuable information or service.
Our software has been built specifically to serve nonprofit organizations for fund raising purposes. There are no fees or charges for the service. There is no advertising on the Charity Store website to detract attention from the fund raising effort of the charity.
All money raised from the Charity Store goes directly to the charity. Each Charity will have a dedicated store so that all money raised from their store will go directly to their account.
No charges or fees for business making donations to the online store. Any business listing an item for donation to charity will be able to do so for free. That business will be notified by email when the item has been sold, who the buyer is to make arrangements for delivery. Once the item is sold, there will be a dedicated page of thanks to that business for the generous donation that will include a description of the item donated and a link to the business website.
To donate a product or service any business that wants to participate, fills out a registration form on that charity store that includes the company website. Once registered the business can list any item or service they want to donate. The title of item or service is important because once the item is sold, it becomes the text pointing to the business website thanking the business for the contribution.
Again, no charges or fees will be imposed on any business making donations, or for adding pictures or text to explain or support the item. The business can offer as many individual items or services for donation, per charity as they choose. Each Charity they donate to would result in a separate thank you from an individual charity section and each store they support.
In theory, if all of the over five hundred thousand nonprofit organizations had an online store with our service, and a business was willing to donate a product or service that represented their best most sought after key search term, they would eventually end up with as many links pointing back to their website, thanking them for their donation.
Adam Lasnik, of the Google link analysis team, has done his best to get the Search Optimization community to look at links in a much broader sense. Without sharing any of the Google methods of placing a numerical value on a link, Adam has explained that the data available and the tools used to crunch that data, make it fairly easy to see when a connection is natural (organic) and when it isn’t.
Most Search Optimizers will admit that link building is the most difficult part of what they do. It used to be if a web site manager wanted to add inbound links to his website, he would contact an associate in a far away country and have them hire them to have them post a link on all of their websites. The sole purpose of those sites was to point at which ever website hired them. They could have thousands of links. But the website itself had no content of value to any human user. We call these link farms. Search Engines began to adjust to discount the value of such links but the practice has not completely died out.
Next website managers began reciprocal linking. One site links to another in return for a link pointing back to their own. Or the slightly more sophisticated three way link. Website A points at website B which points to website C which points back to website A. Might sound confusing, but the search engines can see the relation faster than I can explain it.
In short, Search Engines are fairly adept at finding the schemes webmasters use to manipulate link building. However links are still the fuel that powers the world wide web. So finding a way to compel one site to link to another is still important. Creating a way for both parties involved to benefit is a very natural process.
Rule 1 Get Links from webpages that are read by the audience you want.
How does a Charity Auction fit into this? Every person, and I am talking strictly human visitors to the charity auction is going to associate any business donating to a cause they value in a better light. Even if they don’t need what that business has to offer in the auction that person is going to be more likely to come looking for that business when they do need something. People want to support the business that supports their charities.
Rule 2 Buy links if the visitors that come solely from the link will justify the cost.
Advertisers paying for links from popular blogs or news sites know the value behind this or they would not be doing it. If you can afford an ad on television during the Super Bowl, by all means do it. If you can get the world’s most popular radio personality to mention you on their show and put a link to you on their website, go for it.
As a business person if you can give to a charity or cause that you and your customers care about, and you get a link that points from the auction to your business, that is just good for customer relations and business.
Rule 3 Link to sites because you want your visitors to know about them.
This is why the Auction would link to any business making a donation. It is also why any business would point to the Auction which is what makes the circle complete. Donating to Charity is good. Pointing other people to the Charity is even more important. You want other people involved helping the cause. Giving credit to those that support the cause is also totally natural. Organic linking at its absolute core.
Permanent link from the nonprofit website to their dedicated online store
This allows donors to post donations for up coming events and gives credit or thanks to those who supported the charity in the past. The Charity can post a notice as to when their next event will start or just treat it like an online thrift store and leave it running.
The Charity or Nonprofit must maintain a website ending in .org, .edu, or an equivalent.
The Nonprofit must assign a staff member to authorize donations. It has come to our attention that not all donations are in the best representation of the charity so our site has built in the need for a charity to approve each donation.
The Nonprofit does not need to have an in house website developer. As of our latest version of the nonprofit service we can handle all levels of the site development for the charity.
As of press time this service is currently limited to the planet Earth. However as the internet becomes available on other worlds we have plans to serve those areas as well.
If you have a favorite charity, send them a link to this webpage. Have them contact us.