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Getting Started on eBay for Nonprofit Auctions
Auctions have long been a staple in the toolkit of nonprofit development professionals. The emergence of ubiquitous online access have made online auctions an excellent vehicle for nonprofits and charities to raise funds while engaging stakeholders and other consituencies in their causes. eBay, the leader platform for online auctions also provides a number of offerings for running nonprofit auctions. Running a charity auction on eBay is simple, but getting the most from your efforts involves developing a strategy and understanding the ins and outs of eBay. Luckily eBay provides lots of information on how to be successful using their services.
You’ve probably heard about how much money can be made on eBay. With dreams of quick riches and easy money, you are probably ready to jump in with both feet – right now! The best thing you can do if you are serious about making money with eBay, however, is to slow down. In fact, just stop for a minute. Don’t rush straight in. Take your time, and do it right.
eBay has over 100 million members. Think about that number for just a minute or two. When you get your eBay business set up, that is how big your customer base will be – instantly. 100 million people - 100 million people who are just waiting for you to get set up and running so that they can throw money at you! Well, not quite. It is true that there are over 100 million members, but at this point, they don’t know that you exist. In fact, no matter how well you do on eBay, most of them will never know that you exist. 100 million is a very large number.
The most successful eBay sellers started out as buyers – and you should too. This will give you a sense of how everything works. It will also show you how things are from the buyer’s side of the fence. Let’s call this period of time ‘consumer research.’ You are literally studying how eBay works, from a customer’s point of view. You may not realize this, but this eBay buyer experience will actually make you a much better seller – right from the very start.
In addition to eBay, other vendors offer vehicles for nonprofits to run fundraising auctions. CMarket - www.cmarket.com offers services emphasizing the importance of bidders, donors and sponsors, and their respective roles in a successful auction. Their Website is a valuable source of fundraising auction tips.
Really pay attention to the customer service you receive from the buyer. Think about how you want to be treated as a buyer, and take notes. Take your time during this process. Interact with the sellers. Get involved in hot auctions to see what they are like. In your spare time, start making notes about the hot items that you see. These notes will come in handy later.
eBay works just like any other business. You have to determine what people want to buy before you can hope to be successful. There are very specific items that sell really well on eBay – you just have to figure out what those items are. There are many resources for finding out this information. Start with the lessons that eBay offers to their sellers. Strongly consider attending the eBay University as well. This is the next step in the process. After you have had the eBay buyer experience, it is time to learn how to be an eBay seller.
Read all of the information eBay provides for you at the site. The information is free and you will learn a great deal from it. Take full advantage of this – before you start setting up your first auction or your eBay store! By reading through all of the resources, you will avoid making numerous mistakes that so many before you have made. This is another step towards building a successful eBay business. Once you’ve made it through the learning process, you should know everything you need to know to get started with a money making eBay business of your very own.
About the Author: Michael Saunders has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He edits a site on Fundraising Auction Tips and is president of Information Organizers, LLC.