EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 146 - July 10, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 8

MissionFish and eBay Giving Works: Better Sales, Better World

By Barbara Shaughnessy

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eBay's Giving Works program and MissionFish provide a way for nonprofits to directly raise funds by selling in-kind donations on eBay. Community members can also donate some or all sale proceeds to one of 5,300+ registered nonprofits.

There have been two major Giving Works program enhancements this year. In January, eBay announced that when sellers donate 100 percent of sale proceeds to a nonprofit, eBay will contribute seller fees (insertion and FVF).

A more substantial announcement was made in April. Giving Works has been added to the eBay Sell Your Item (SYI) form. If you use eBay or third-party auction management software, you may have missed this change. In the pricing and duration section of the SYI form, there's an option to select a MissionFish certified nonprofit and to designate a donation percentage. Since I'm a direct seller, my employer Goodwill Industries of San Francisco is selected as the nonprofit receiving 100 percent of sale proceeds. For community selling, this is where a nonprofit and donation percentage is specified.

The current minimum donation for community selling is $10. Please note, the seller is responsible for the minimum donation even if the item sells for less than $10.

Another program enhancement in April was the addition of eBay Motors to Giving Works. Motors insertion and transaction fees are now donated for direct sales, and for community sales where 100 percent of the car sale price is donated to a nonprofit.

Before Giving Works was added to SYI, auctions benefiting nonprofits were listed using the MissionFish site. This process was cumbersome and not very user friendly. Between April and May, the number of Giving Works listings on eBay has almost quadrupled. So the SYI changes are already reaping huge benefits for charities. Adding Giving Works to Turbo Lister, which will further simplify and speed up charity listings, will hopefully be implemented in the next 6 months.

eBay also provides value-added features to benefit charity selling. In addition to the ribbon charity icon, Giving Works listings promote nonprofit branding and mission statement, backed by a MissionFish guarantee. Charity listings have custom search functionality on the Giving Works home page and a dedicated filter in advanced search.

Both eBay and MissionFish sites include a nonprofit directory and provide free "In the Spotlight" promotion (called widgets). Promotion makes a difference, with charity auctions receiving more bids. As a result, it is estimated that charity listings sell for 40 percent higher than similar, non-charity items. See for more information.

If you're a nonprofit, you should definitely consider eBay for fundraising. To get started, you will need to register on MissionFish. See for instructions. This is required for direct selling and to receive community donations. You will also need to create a seller's account on eBay. To set up an account see Be sure to add your eBay seller ID as a direct seller in My MissionFish. This is the only way to receive seller fee donations from eBay.

For community sellers, this is an opportunity to try cause marketing. It's estimated that every 3 minutes a Giving Works listing is created. Listings for charity have a higher sell-through and ASP (Average Sales Price). Giving is good for business, as indicated by the eBay Giving Works tagline: Better Sales. Better World!


  • A qualified nonprofit (ie tax deductible organization) using eBay for fundraising is called a "direct seller." Since the launch of Giving Works in 2003, eBay has donated insertion and FVF (Final Value Fees) to direct sellers.
  • "Community selling" is the process for users to donate 10-100% of sale proceeds to a MissionFish registered nonprofit.
  • MissionFish ( is an eBay solution provider that certifies nonprofits, handles donation disbursement, and generates donation receipts for community sellers. MissionFish has a stand-alone website and is also integrated with eBay Giving Works.
  • Giving Works (, powered by MissionFish, is the eBay program dedicated to nonprofit fundraising. Giving Works listings are easy to identify by the blue & gold ribbon next to the item title.

About the author:

Barb Shaughnessy as been employed as the E-Store Manager by Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties since 01/05. High value donated merchandise is sold on Amazon, eBay, and The Goodwill mission is to train, support and challenge individuals to overcome employment barriers and achieve self-sufficiency through work.

The agency eBay userID is: goodwill_industries_of_san_francisco. See for more information. Shop.Bid.Donate.Make a Difference.

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