Hong Kong-based startup DonationShop lets charities collect donations through the sale of branded merchandise, without initial investment
For many charities, getting donations is a problem, limiting the things they can do to further their causes. On the other hand, many people who support various causes and charities long to wear their affiliation on their sleeves, buying and making clothes and trinkets with the logos of the organisations they support.
Enter DonationShop. Started just this year, it is a for-profit platform to collect donations for charity organisations through selling branded merchandise. The site caters to both, charity organisations themselves, as well as celebrities, public figures or corporations looking to make visible donations to various causes.
DonationShop welcomes any charity organisation to set up a shop with it. Applications from non-charity organisations, however, are approved on a case-by-case basis. If the application is approved, DonationShop will set up and host an autonomous shop on its platform. Subsequently, one just needs to select the type of merchandise to have in the shop, together with the graphics and branding. DonationShop will calculate the product and shipping cost for each item, and will charge fees only when sale is made.
According to CEO David Rubben, DonationShop was founded based on his experience volunteering with non-profit organisations. “Back then, to have a website wasn’t as easy as now, most unfunded non-profits couldn’t afford it. Their major problem lies in fundraising and you need tools to run fundraising campaigns, but those tools are not free,” he said.
The ‘donation shop’ idea
“The idea behind DonationShop is not only to offer a solution for non-profits to collect donations, but also to motivate public figures, celebrities, media, high traffic websites to use their promotion ability to help,” said Rubben, adding, “It’s common for celebrities, music bands to sell merchandise to their fans online. What we offer is a bit different, we let public figures to motivate their fans to buy merchandise, and donate all of the profit for charity.”
Rubben shares that the ultimate goal for DonationShop is to create a trend among public figures, or anybody else with an audience, to promote and help causes using their name. “Once a ‘donation shop’ idea is established among few bright public figures, many will follow and a lot more donations will be done for the charities across the world,” he noted.
“Our biggest challenge is to create a trend to make the ‘donation shop’ idea as a must-have e-donation tool for public figures, like Facebook and Twitter which are currently used to communicate with their audiences,” concluded Rubben.