eBay buyers and sellers were quite charitable in 2010, donating a record-high of nearly $55 million to nonprofits through eBay Giving Works, eBay reports.
Sellers listed close to 9 million items featuring the Giving Works logo in 2010, raising $54.8 million for nonprofit organizations. That was twice the number of items sold using Giving Works in 2009, according to eBay. Overall, buyers and sellers donated 7 percent more in 2010 than they did in 2009, when donations reached $50 million.
"eBay Giving Works shows that when you give people the platform and tools to make a difference, they do it," says eBay President and CEO John Donahoe. "People care and they are willing to give whatever they can to help. Fifty-five million dollars is a lot of money, but what's most impressive is that, in a tough economy, people gave what they could."
Since Giving Works debuted in 2003, eBayers have raised $230 million for charities. The average donation is just over $4, but that small amount can make a big difference, Donahoe notes.
"A dollar here, and a dollar there, adds up," he continues. "eBay Giving Works demonstrates that the smallest actions can do a tremendous amount of good."
People yearn to be a positive part of something larger
The power of community
For example, Angel Acres Horse Haven, an organization that buys horses to prevent them from being sold for consumption in Europe and Asia, made 20 percent of its annual budget through eBay charity listings, eBay reports.
Celebrity-related auctions proved very popular in 2010. Memorabilia from "Survivor: Nicaragua" brought in $250,000 for The Serpentine Project and Operation Smile, and articles of clothing from Oprah Winfrey's closest sold for a total of $150,000, helping The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation.
Betsie Bolger, a spokeswoman for Bling My Bra, a campaign benefiting Susan G. Komen For the Cure, knows firsthand how giving people were in 2010. The month-long charity
auction she was involved with raised $5,571.62, surpassing organizers' goals, she says. And overall, buyers and sellers raised close to $1.7 million for the Susan G. Komen For the Cure organization.
"I think people are pulling together to make ends meet, not just for themselves, but for others as well," Bolger says. "Hard times bring out the best and worst in people, and I think the eBay community really exemplifies the best.
"I think people really want to have a reason to feel good about themselves, and buying an item displaying the Giving Works logo definitely lets you do that," she continues. "It's win-win for both the buyer and the seller. Both are doing something for charity, not just for themselves. People yearn to be a positive part of something larger."
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.