For many years, eBay has provided the ability to sell items to benefit a given charity or nonprofit organization through our eBay for Charity program. Now eBay sellers can list an item and have the funds raised credited to their favorite Event, Team, and/or Participant.

Peer-to-Peer or P2P fundraising is a strategy that leverages an individual’s network of friends, family, coworkers, and peers to raise funds on their behalf. P2P is a form of crowdfunding, but differs in that it’s multi-tiered vs. the single-tier model of traditional crowdfunding. To understand the market size of P2P fundraising, nearly one-third1 of all online donations are now made through P2P. In 2016, charitable giving in the U.S. topped $390 billion, which was up nearly 3 percent from 2015.2

The following illustration compares the differences between traditional Crowdfunding and P2P.

180210 p2p infographic v1 04

Click the image for a larger version.

Many charities and nonprofit organizations create fundraising campaigns structured on a P2P model. One of the more popular campaign types is known as the Event/Team Fundraising campaign, in which supporters participate in a run, walk, or ride event with the goal of raising a certain dollar amount to support their cause.

eBay’s Spin on Peer-to-Peer

For many years, eBay has provided the ability to sell items to benefit a given charity or nonprofit organization through our eBay for Charity program. Now eBay sellers can list an item and have the funds raised credited to their favorite Event, Team, and/or Participant.

Our new P2P offering aligns perfectly with the gamified and pseudo-competitive nature of Event Fundraising campaigns. We achieve this by creating a link between an eBay Seller and the Event, Team, and Participant they choose to support. During our research phase, we’ve identified the majority of charities and nonprofits use the following hierarchy:

  • Event
    • Teams
      • Team Captain
        • Team Participants

As a Team Participant, I can define a personal goal of raising $500, which supports my team’s goal of raising $5,000, all of which rolls up to the event’s goal of $50,000.

The diagram below illustrates how committed supporters become new eBay Sellers, who list items on our platform, while soft supporters become new eBay Buyers. Our P2P model creates an opportunity for organizations to raise more funds while giving supporters a new way to donate besides the traditional cash only models.

P2P Diagram

How it All Works

In order to make all of this happen, the eBay for Charity team of engineers have developed two new web services. The first is known as the Account Affiliation Service and the second is our Transaction Reconciliation Service. The following illustration shows how these two services work in conjunction to link accounts, affiliate items for sale to a given P2P Event, and close the loop by sending all this information back to the partner organization raising funds.

P2P Workflow

Click the image for a larger version of the workflow.

Account Affiliation

Now that we’ve covered the high-level product concept, let’s dive into our P2P Affiliation Methods, and then we’ll explore Transaction Reconciliation. In order to understand our charitable partner’s needs, we have spoken with several stakeholders to identify a primary and secondary way of supporting an event participant.

Screen Shot 2018 02 05 at 1.49.17 PM

Method A - Primary Affiliation Workflow

From the Charity’s Event/Team/Participant Page(s)

  1. Charities sign up for an eBay Developer Account, and we create a token to ensure the entire process of passing data between the Charity and eBay has been secured and is trusted.
  2. Charities place a Call to Action on their Event, Team, and Participant pages.
  3. Logged-in users select a Call to Action and the Charity sends the user to eBay.
  4. After logging into eBay we affiliate their account.
  5. Users then sell items to support their favorite Event, Team and/or Participant.

Affiliation Method A

Method B - Secondary Affiliation Workflow
From eBay Charity Profile Page (CPP)

In some cases, there will be donors who are not interested in creating an account on the Charity’s website, but would still like to sell items that benefit their favorite charity. In this scenario, we’re providing support by allowing the user/donor to find Events, Teams, and Participants from eBay’s website by using the Charity’s open API.

  1. Logged in eBay users select the Affiliation Call to Action from an eBay Charity Profile Page.
  2. Users then search for a Charity Event, Team, or Participant.
  3. User then selects the Event, Team, or Participant they would like to affiliate.
  4. Users then sell items to support their favorite Event, Team and/or Participant.

P2P Affiliation Method B

Transaction Reconciliation

After an affiliated supporter has sold an item, we then need to ensure the funds raised are properly reconciled with our P2P data. This allows organizations to update their online fundraising meters and financial systems. We accomplished this by writing a new Reconciliation Service that takes the key-value pair from our Affiliation Service and combines it with the rest of the transaction data for a clean response. Below is an example payload from our Reconciliation Service.
Response

Sample

{  
   "charity":"CHARITYNAME",
   "donations":[  
      {  
         "donationId":"1234",
         "metadata":[  
            {  
               "key":"Participant",
               "value":"Bob"
            },
            {  
               "key":"team",
               "value":"A Team"
            },
            {  
               "key":"event",
               "value":"run for your cause"
            }
         ],
         "amount":{  
            "currency":"USD",
            "value":"12.34"
         },
         "pledgeDate":{  
            "value":"2017-01-31T04:12:21.000Z"
         },
         "LastModifiedDate":{  
            "value":"2017-02-05T04:12:21.000Z"
         },
         "status":"AWAITING_PAYMENT",
      }
   ],
   "total":500,
   "next":"...?limit=20&offset=70",
   "prev":"...?limit=20&offset=30"
}

As the Product Manager for eBay’s P2P Fundraising, I’m happy to announce we recently kicked off a pilot with the American Cancer Society (ACS). As of January 2018, supporters of ACS can now list items and have the profits raised directly applied to the Event, Team, or Participant they wish to support. What’s equally exciting is that shortly after the seller has been paid, ACS will update fundraising goal meters on their website to reflect the amount of the proceeds raised through eBay sales. Below is an example of ACS’ Charity Profile Page on eBay with the Affiliation Method B.

ACS CPP

Lastly, I’d like to thank our incredibly smart and talented eBay for Charity team, without your efforts this product wouldn’t exist. And of course to our partners at the American Cancer Society, we’re looking forward providing a new way to raise funds and beat our biggest rival.

 

1 Donor Engagement Study; Aligning Aligning Nonprofit Strategy With Donor Preferences, Abila Inc. 2015
2 Giving USA 2017: Total Charitable Donations Rise to New High of $390.05 Billion, Giving USA. 2017