Being the Real Deal on Cyber Monday

Photo by Beth Rankin


Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday are most relevant for for-profit companies, they’re not necessarily irrelevant for nonprofits.

The numbers show an increasing number of consumers are using the Internet for purchases, and every year, the shopping experience is easier, faster, and more efficient.

In order to become or remain relevant, nonprofits are being forced to offer more of their resources online, and should be looking to do the same to make the donation-processing, information-finding, and community-seeking experiences just as good as major retailers, if not better.

The Craziness of Online Retail

Since the practice started in the mid-2000s, the number of consumers who take advantage of Black Friday deals has grown each year. Last year 212 million consumers shopped online and in stores, generating $45 billion in sales. This past Black Friday generated a record-breaking $52 billion with 226 million shoppers.

Last year, Cyber Monday’s sales reached $1 billion. Even amidst a tough economy, people continue to be drawn to savings opportunities, especially online.

Nonprofit and Retail Together?

Remember the last time you went to the grocery store or pharmacy and were asked to make a $1 donation to a local charity? Though that may have helped St. Jude and others reach out to new donors and raise money, it’s not necessarily helping them cultivate loyal donors.

But nonprofits have that opportunity online. There are several online retail opportunities, like The Nonprofit Shopping Mall and Recoup, to help connect consumers with nonprofits through their shopping experience.

The difference: if you’re in a store, you may make that donation and go home without any information about the organization you donated to or where your money went to help. But a user can easily click your logo and be taken to your online community. See the benefit?

Hop on the Bandwagon

Not all nonprofits have a million-dollar marketing budget, so taking advantage of other marketing strategies, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, could help you gain some visibility with users that may not have hear about you otherwise.

A partnership with a retailer can help you, as a small nonprofit. And even if you don’t develop that partnership, hopping on the bandwagon of these marketing campaigns is still an opportunity. I like how Brendan Kinney asked his readers to take a pledge and donate to their favorite nonprofit on #cybergivingmonday. Why not ask your donors to do the same for you today?

Consider building something like this into your 2012 development plan. Though you may not get the millions in donations you’d hope for in the ideal world, you are being exposed to users currently not affiliated with you. And a new donor is always a win, right?

Have you tried partnering with online retailers? What has your experience been?

P.S. Check back at our blog around noon for the chance to win $100 for your favorite nonprofit. How’s that for a Thanksgiving deal?


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