Charity Connect and the importance of e-commerce to the third sector

It’s no secret that Covid-19’s impact on the charity sector has been unprecedented and hugely damaging. It has significantly disrupted the vital fundraising efforts of charities across the country, closing off successful fundraising streams that they depend on, such as sporting events and social gatherings. The need for virtual or digital fundraising avenues is stark but according to a recent report from National Philanthropy Capital (NPC) charities’ confidence in their ability to use digital technology to diversify their income streams has dropped to 59% since 2017. In order to survive, but even better to thrive, following this unprecedented period there is both a need and desire for charities to make digital advances.

Building on the support we offer the third sector through our eBay for Charity platform, we’re launching Charity Connect, an ambitious training programme to support at least 500 UK charities bolster their income streams on our marketplace. This includes charities that are already on site, and those yet to sign up, with the aim to help upskill them on effective e-commerce, enabling them to raise more money through more effective online sales. We’ve already seen hundreds of charities join our weekly ‘kick-starter’ webinars to learn how to build a successful online presence through dedicated customer service, onboarding assistance and promotional support. With applications for our 6 month training programme going live this week, we hope many more will discover the power of selling to eBay’s 190 million buyers worldwide.

At a time when charities’ income has been decimated and they’re having to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic, they need investment to explore pioneering solutions which can help revive the sector. That is why we at eBay are also calling for a government fund, which would mean charities can develop these solutions without diverting vital cash from

essential frontline services. We are supporting with £1.7M in unrestricted grants to charity sellers on eBay most affected by the pandemic. These grants have been given with the hope that some, if not all, of the money will be invested in the digital upskilling of staff. The charity sector in the UK plays a vital role in supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised and we need to work hard to retain the diversity and innovation inherent in the sector. We hope that this training and financial support will continue to provide them with the tools and insight to ensure digital advances are part of their road to recovery.

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