Should you donate to charity? Don’t worry, this episode isn’t about personal finances. It’s about increased conversions. I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money, I’m here to help you make more of it.
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Hello everybody. Anton Kraly here from eCommerce Lifestyle, and welcome to another episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle podcast. This episode is probably going to be a quick one. It’s really just because I wanted to share my thoughts on a topic that just came up.
Someone asked a question about donating to charity in one of our private Facebook communities. It was a little discussion, bunch of people kind of weighed in.
I just wanted to share my take on whether or not to donate to charity, but I don’t like to do that by typing up thousand-word responses on Facebook. I’d much rather hop on the phone, record a quick episode, and get it out there.
That way I can actually have time to share my thoughts, and it could benefit even more people. The topic and the discussion that came up was asking if anyone had tried using charitable donations in their business, and if it had increased their conversion rate. Right?
Now I do want to be clear that in this episode and what I’m going to share with you, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about what you should do with the money that you make from your business, or the money you make from your job, or the money you already have in the bank. Right? I’m not talking about personal money, and not here definitely to tell you how to spend your money.
I’m just here to help you make more of it. Keep that in mind. What this really comes down to is, “Do you want to donate to a charity on your website, and will that lead to increased trust and will that then in turn lead to higher conversions?” The short answer is, “Yes it will.” The long answer is, “Yes, but…”
A lot of people try this, and it doesn’t help their conversion rates and sometimes it actually hurts them. Then they’re thinking, “Wow, why didn’t this help? Do my customers think it’s because I’m charging more because I have a charity or why? Why wouldn’t this help?” Well, I’ll tell you why, because as you can probably imagine, I look at a lot of eCommerce stores.
In fact, most of my “work time”, like time on the computer, is really doing the research, is seeing what’s out there, is just for viewing stores. A lot of what I see from people that are asking for advice is they say they donate to charity, but there’s no clear message behind it. Let me give you an example. All right?
On my YouTube channel I used to review stores every other week just to share some dropshipping tips. Then it just got to be kind of tedious, and I have better use of time. But I was reviewing people’s stores and someone had a pet supply store. They linked me to it so I could review it.
I went to the website, and on the homepage it said, “We donate a portion of our profits to help dogs.” Okay, that was their big message. That was their hero slider image. It was, “We donate a percentage of our profits to help dogs.” It’s like, “Okay. Do you really donate to charity? What dogs? How? How do you help them? How much money? What percentage? What are your profits?” Right?
If you try to incorporate donating to charity into your business, which is a great thing also. I mean if you can make money and help someone, thumbs up to you. That’s amazing. But if you’re going to say something like that, even if it’s true, that’s going to actually take away confidence and trust from the person on your website.
The first thing that I thought when I was looking at this person’s site was, “No, you don’t donate to charity, and if you do, I really don’t believe you. And what is it? It’s however much you feel like that month? Like how much percentage you feel like giving to help dogs?” That doesn’t increase trust. Again, it takes it away. So that will not only not help you, it will hurt you.
Let’s talk about ways that you can actually donate to charity and have it help, and not just in a little bit but in tons of different ways. Right? Not just in increased conversions, but in terms of partnership deals you get, in terms of exposure, and in terms of building a long-term sustainable brand. Right?
The most obvious example and the company that has done charitable giving right from day one is TOMs, who makes shoes. Their whole philosophy is for every pair of shoes they sell, they donate a pair to people that basically can’t afford them. Right?
How clear is that? Okay. I’m going to buy a pair of shoes. Right? I need shoes anyway, and TOMs sells them at regular prices. They’re not charging me double for them. But when I buy a pair of them, I know exactly what’s going to happen.
Another pair is going to get donated to someone who can’t afford their own shoes basically. That’s clear, and guess what? That made their business model explode. It made them be able to sell in a hyper-competitive market like shoes. It made them have just huge business growth. Right? Because again, clarity, “What’s happening with the donation? How are you giving?”
I’ll give you another example. One of my friends, his name’s Chad. He is a co-founder of a company called Diff Eyewear. They make sunglasses. Really cool styles. They work with some of the biggest influencers in the business, but they use that same Toms model where for every pair of sunglasses that they sell, they actually donate to charity a pair of reading glasses to people in countries that can’t afford them.
You go to their website, or you go into any of the retail stores they’re in. You buy a pair of their sunglasses, and you know what’s happening as far as the charity. Right? For every one you buy, someone else is going to get one. So that clarity, it makes a big difference. Now it’s not just about having to give one. Right? If you’re listening to this right now, and you sell something like whatever, like you sell wine refrigerators.
You might be thinking like, “Okay, Anton, you can give away a pair of inexpensive reading glasses or a pair of inexpensive shoes, but what am I going to do? I’m not going to give away a wine refrigerator every time I get a thousand dollar sale on my website.” That’s true, but there’s other ways that you can do this. Okay?
Another company that does things right when it comes to charitable giving, is a company called BioTrust. They’re a nine-figure supplement company. They’re massive, and they’re not giving away supplements when you buy supplements. But if you go to their website … I’m actually going to pull it up right now because I’m sitting at my computer. They have an extremely clear call to action of what their charitable donations are right on their homepage.
Their big hero image says says, “Place an order and feed a hungry child. When you improve your nutrition with an order from BioTrust, we provide a nutritious meal for a hungry child.” Then you can click into it and learn more. But again, super clear. Like if I buy supplements from BioTrust, right, if I want protein, whatever, I buy it here and I know a hungry kid somewhere is going to get a meal. Then if you go through it, they talk about it again in detail.
They say that they’re partnering with Make a Wish. They’ve donated to charity over $1.6 million to them. They literally are sharing where the money’s going. Again, if they just said something like … If this message wasn’t that clear. If it wasn’t, “Place an order and feed a hungry child,” and instead it said something like, “When you order from us, we donate to charity a small percentage of profits,” or “We donate to charity a percentage of profits to hungry children,” I’d be like, “Well, do you really?” But with them, they have it very clear. An order from you equals a meal for a hungry child.
Then you can click into it where it goes through the exact charities they work with, how much they donate to charity, and what that relationship is. So you have to have that clarity, and of course your thing that you’re working with, your charity, or the thing you’re giving away, or the companies you’re donating to, have to be very related to what your buyer, right, your customer avatar is actually interested in and actually interested in supporting.
Now the other things I’ll say about this, because when I first wanted to get into this whole charitable giving thing through business, I thought like, “Oh. I do support different charities personally and that would be great if I could just partner with them and put their information on my website and say that we donate to them. Maybe it’s, whatever it is, $20 per sale or something very clear.
What I realized though when I started to reach out to these big charities is you can’t just do that. I want you to keep that in mind if you’re listening to this now and you’re thinking like, “Wow. Well, I like the Make a Wish Foundation also,” or, “I’m a fan of the Boys & Girls Club, and I want to donate a percentage of my profits to them.”
You can do that. No one’s stopping you from donating, but big charities like that have very strict policies. If you can publicly state that on your business website, and basically the way it works is you have to be approved to use their logos and to say you donate to charity. The way you get approved is by making a minimum commitment every year, and it’s a lot of money. It’s like, “We guarantee we’re going to donate at least $100,000 to you this year.”
The reason they want you to do that is because they don’t want any scam websites popping up and just saying, “Yeah, we donate to Make a Wish or Boys & Girls Club,” when you really don’t. If that’s the route you want to go and you do want to partner with a big charity, don’t just start using their logos or anything because they do enforce that.
So look into it. Look into the ones you could support. One of them that we worked with, it’s like we wanted to actually work with Boys & Girls Club with Drop Ship Lifestyle, which is my eCommerce coaching company.
We wanted to do a promotion around Christmas, around the last holiday season, where we donated a portion of sales specifically for children. We wanted to be able to help at least one person to go on some kind of excursion with everyone that enrolled into the program in our holiday promotion. But we weren’t able to because of that minimum.
Instead what we did, which you could do too, if you run into this situation where there are these big minimums, is you could look for local companies around where you are, or local charities I should say, that offer similar types of benefits as these big charities, and you could partner with them.
In the example I just gave, what we did since we couldn’t work with the Boys & Girls Club, is we found a local company in Austin that takes underprivileged children from pretty bad households and they just get them out there and take them on like mentorship excursions where they teach them leadership skills.
Because they were smaller and they basically need more money, they are willing to work with smaller companies with smaller donations also. But yeah, we were able to get them like a few thousand dollars, help a bunch of children. That was really cool. Yeah, you could definitely find something like that for your business as well. I guess the main things that I’ll just close this out with saying is, “Yes, charitable giving definitely can help.”
The only other reason I would say you shouldn’t do it, even if you have a great idea for maybe it’s that buy one give one type thing, or maybe it’s like something, again, like every sale equals a free meal for a child, or every sale equals we’re going to buy a notepad and pens for kids in schools that can’t afford them, or whatever that is, that it’s great and you should do it unless two things.
Unless you can’t be clear on what it exactly is you’re donating, or if your business isn’t profitable enough. So keep that in mind too because at the end of the day, charitable giving and giving back when you’re successful is great, but if you’re not there yet, if your margins are still too thin, if you’re still in the early stages of building, don’t make this like your first priority, right? Because you can’t help anybody if you’re not helping yourself first.
So get your business needs taken care of. Make sure you’re profitable. Make sure your operations are streamlined, and then it’s a good time to start looking into how you can give back. Yeah, if you do it right, if you’re clear, if you have actual information on your website to back up what you’re claiming you’re going to give, then this definitely will increase your conversion rates.
You gotta basically have the ability, I should say, to instill trust into your visitors, and the more proof you can give them, and the more clarity you can give them on where their money’s going, the more it’s going to work to increase your conversion rate and bring in more sales. So hope you guys found that valuable and let me know.
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