Accommodation-sharing service Airbnb is inviting charities to offer ‘social impact experiences’ through its platform to encourage travellers to engage in social causes. The experiences are both educational and a new way for the charity to raise funds.
Airbnb will promote the experiences offered by charities via its site. Travellers visiting a particular location will see these experiences listed for them as a relevant local attraction to make their stay even more rewarding. Experiences are open to anyone, not just those who have booked accommodation through Airbnb.
The platform has been offering standard experiences as an add-on for nearly three years. For these commercial experiences Airbnb charges a 20% service fee. However, for Social Impact Experiences Airbnb is waiving this fee, meaning that 100% of the proceeds from the experience are received by the charity.
In other words, Airbnb is promoting charities’ experiences to a relevant audience, handling the payments, and passing them to the charity. Payment is made 24 hours after the experience has concluded.
So far more than 900 charity and nonprofit organisations around the world have created social impact experiences, and raised funds as a result. Not surprisingly, the connections made at these events can have other positive results for the charity. Some report that experiences have resulted in “long-term donors, volunteers, and ambassadors for an organisation”, according to Airbnb.
Jon, host of “Paddle with Penguins” in Cape Town, South Africa, told Airbnb: “This is the type of clientele we have always wanted to reach – young, energetic, informed people with a passion…that matches even our own.”
Which charities can host a social impact experience?
In the UK the Social Impact Experience is open to registered charities. But there are certain eligibility and quality requirements before an experience is accepted for the programme.
The type of experience is entirely down to the charity. Indeed, many charities will already offer something similar, like a guided tour of their theatre, a cycle-ride around their wetlands, a meet the research scientists event, or a visit to their animal sanctuary.
To gain a sense of the wide variety of social impact experiences available right now around the world, explore Airbnb’s social impact experiences section.
In general experiences need to run regularly throughout the year. People are travelling and staying in places via Airbnb throughout the year. If your annual event only shows up in search results for those booking a visit for a few days each year, it is unlikely to generate much interest or income. So repeated experiences are recommended. So too are those that also take place outside traditional holiday times.
Guide Dogs were an early partner in the Social Impact Experience programme.
Airbnb reports that, running the Social Impact Programme internationally, “some nonprofits are earning over $50k a year” from their experience events.
How your charity can take part
Needless to say, Airbnb experiences and Airbnb Homes are separate offerings.Neither the charity nor the individual host presenting the experience need to be offering to host visitors in their home or property!
You can find out how to register your charity as a Social Impact Host from Airbnb.