How beard oil could lubricate your fundraising
Three years ago I was working in an office. Then I took the plunge and threw myself headfirst into becoming an Internet entrepreneur.
It took a lot of hard slog, but I eventually got to the point where I was supporting myself and my family with my online business – mainly via affiliate marketing.
But I felt strangely unfulfilled. I had enough money to meet my needs, but oddly – the less I had, the happier I was. I decided to dedicate my next project to raising money for other people, instead of myself.
And I wanted to put this post out, in case you might be able to draw any inspiration from my ideas.
Let me explain what I mean.
Have you ever happened across an ‘affiliate site’ whilst surfing the web?
I bet you have.
But you may not have realised it.
Let’s say you are searching around on Google for something you need – maybe the ‘best blender’ or ‘best lawnmower’. Low and behold, somewhere on the first page there is a handy website giving reviews and comparisons on all the latest and greatest products.
You click on a button and – whoosh – it takes you over to the manufacturer’s web-site where you can buy the product.
You may not have even realised, but the referring website owner makes a commission (normally between 5-75%) on that sale.
Affiliate marketing for fundraising
If you are working in a fundraising capacity, have you considered using affiliate marketing to raise funds for your charity?
Here are the main steps involved.
- Pick a product in a low competition niche. This means something relatively obscure, say for example Swiss army knives or exotic coffees. If you go for something extremely popular like wrist watches you’ll find it much harder to get noticed.
- Define a brand based around the product and a charitable theme. For example, my brand The Beard Oil Pledge
- Choose a supplier with an affiliate program (see the background article on Affiliate Programs 101 above to see what I mean).
- Design and setup a branded website, or setup a section on your organisation’s existing website dedicated to your affiliate campaign and embed your affiliate links.
- Receive a monthly payment from your affiliate partner and put it to work within your organisation.
- Continue to promote your site and monitor the income levels. The more traffic you can get to your site – via social media or search engines – the more funds you will raise.
Don’t underestimate the commitment needed to get a new site up and running. It can take up to 6 months to get an affiliate site off the ground, but once it’s generating funds, it won’t stop – and you can sit back (to a degree).
You should expect to invest anywhere between £100 – £1000 in web design and setup to get a new affiliate web site up and running in the first instance.
Then, the only requirement is your time – to go about promoting the site with internet marketing techniques. Expect to work on the campaign 2-3 days a week for the first 6 months before it starts generating meaningful income.
The exact amount of funds you can expect to raise will depend on the product you target and the size of this ‘niche’. As an example, with my beard oil site, based on the income I make as an Internet entrepreneur for similar sized niches, I hope to raise £300,000 over 3 years.
But what’s this all got to do with beard oil?
Beard oil itself actually has nothing to do with this fundraising technique.
You need to look beyond the beard oil.
This was simply a product niche I chose (based on an interest of mine – my beard) because it was low competition and had a decent number of affiliates available.
We currently donate our affiliate commissions to Mary’s Meals, via whom we have sponsored the meals for the Habitat Primary School in Malawi. Just £6,796 will provide a daily meal for the 557 students at the school for an entire 12 months.
It feels good to raise money for others.