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Digital Fundraising – Staging an innovative donation experience on your website

Automating the donation process for mission-critical products with Donation Driver

Online engagement is a key component of an organization's fundraising strategy. Organizations looking to scale their donation program can integrate with digital stores such as Amazon Business to expand audience reach, personalize donor communication, and expand giving opportunities. The convenience that eCommerce has brought to consumers represents an opportunity for nonprofits to transform the donation process – where donors can purchase exactly what your organization needs with a single click of a button. Product donations can be tracked in real-time across the fulfillment journey so the receiving organization can plan for arrival.

Automating the giving process brings fresh advantages for organizations: increased time savings by digitizing manual processes, customized giving relationships by connecting donors and recipients more directly, and visualized data to track, thank, and report on donation activity while maintaining donor and recipient privacy.

Donation Driver from Amazon Business brings this added value to your organization’s donation program. With Donation Driver, organizations can engage donors with an intuitive donation experience similar to online shopping. Donors can easily identify the items your organization needs and complete the donation process all in one place. Seamless website integrations allow orders to be placed and fulfilled through your Amazon Business account so you can track, report and plan more effectively. Beyond nonprofits, Donation Driver can be applied across industries. For example, hospitals could establish Virtual Gift Shops, universities could set up Incentive Stores for research participants, and K-12 schools could set up a supply list for low-income teachers or students. Foundations or corporate partners could promote grantees or local organizations to spur community giving, extending their generosity and influence.

"We’ve made the giving process easy. Donors just visit DomesticShelters.org and with a few clicks, they can select a local shelter, buy the items needed, and have the items shipped directly to the shelter. As a result, 5,789 items worth over $165,000 have been generously donated to domestic violence programs across the United States."

— Ashley Rumschlag, VP of Digital Services, Theresa's Fund

Getting started with Donation Driver

Organizations begin by creating a catalog, quickly filtering through a vast selection of more than 5 million products from thousands of sellers. For organizations that have socially responsible purchasing goals, seller and product certifications can identify local and diverse businesses, and more sustainable products. Invite other people within your organization - whether local employees or national chapters - to create their own lists under one consolidated account. Donors can access these lists from your organization’s website and shop by project, products or people based on their interests. Organizations can pre-set delivery to multiple points of need, capturing valuable data for follow up, auditing, and reconciliation. Increase giving opportunities by enabling donors to discover local organizations. Donors can find an organization nearest to them by entering a zip code or other filtering information.

 

 

Donation Driver in action: Chattanooga Zoo

Chattanooga Zoo, a 13-acre zoo just two miles from downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, relies on generous donations to support its animals. Chattanooga Zoo is approaching its 85th anniversary and continues to be a consistent and familiar presence in the community. Hear from Chloe Smallwood, Director of Marketing at Chattanooga Zoo, to learn how the zoo digitized their donation process.

Tell us about Chattanooga Zoo’s donation process. How are you bringing things into the future?
Being a smaller zoo, we’ve built a great relationship with our community through our many outreach programs. In the process, we learned that many people want to give but do not have the time to pick-up a donation list at the gate, drive to a store and shop for the requested items, and then drop off their donation. With Donation Driver now integrated into our website, this removes some of the friction and makes it easier for people to give.

There are many who want to help non-profits that they believe in, but might not exactly have the time to do so. For Chattanooga Zoo, we serve many young families in our community and know that making an extra trip is a big deal. From our website, donors can shop from a list of requested items and learn exactly which animals their donation will help support. Parents can then sit down with their kids and talk about what these items will do for the zoo, whether that’s to support the Wildlife Rehabilitation Program or some blankets that will serve as nests for baby birds. The ability to purchase those things from the comfort of their own home and knowing that these items are coming straight to the zoo gives donors the peace of mind coming from a well-known brand such as Amazon.

What changes have you seen at the zoo during your tenure?
The pandemic has changed the operating landscape where many processes have gone virtual. As an outdoor facility that lets people come face-to-face with wildlife, we were able to continue safely bringing visitors face-to-face with wildlife in a time where many activities have become inaccessible. This has helped us become a closer-knit family with our members and our community. The zoo is small, covering only 13 acres, so frequent visitors would often know the names of all the animals. We’ve seen an outpouring of love and support from our community when we were closed during COVID – many of which wanted to send in items to support the animals.

With the adoption of Donation Driver, can you share what the process was like to bring it to life?
Implementing Donation Driver is one of the things I’m most proud of. Our collaboration with Amazon Business has been a great marriage of Amazon Business listening and understanding the zoo’s vision, and working with the zoo to implement a seamless website donation experience that remains true to the zoo’s mission. From the very start, the question guiding this discovery has been about “how is this going to make this better for your institution?” – an intentionality of bettering the donation experience and streamlining the process. It was truly a partnership where Amazon Business helped us meet the vision we had as our end goal. Launched on September 2021, the zoo promoted the Animal Wish List in the October newsletter and social media.

Chattanooga Zoo Animal Wish List using Donation Driver

What advice do you have for other procurement leaders looking to transform their donation process?
Be open to the idea and explore whether Donation Driver can positively impact the work your organization is already doing. In a time where it seems like many organizations are looking to reduce costs, investing in new functionalities may not be a priority though it could help your organization achieve greater efficiencies in the long-run. From an accessibility perspective, we select products from a wide-range of price points so that anyone who wants to contribute will have an opportunity. Regardless of donation size, we are our donor’s biggest fans whether the gift was an $8 slow feeder bowl for the gibbons and mangabeys or a $200 thermal camera to monitor veterinary issues. Donation Driver has also helped us track our gifts and share our appreciation to our donors by automating thank you notes directly from the zoo, all while maintaining donor and recipient privacy.

If you had to describe Donation Driver to your peers in a sentence or two, what would you say?
Donation Driver makes giving faster and easier than any other method we’ve invited donors to be a part of. It’s a great tool!

Chattanooga Zoo Animal Wish List using Donation Driver

Chattanooga Zoo Animal Wish List using Donation Driver

Empower community giving

With Donation Driver, you can automate the process of donors buying products from your organization's wishlist using Amazon Business.

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