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eBay UK announces £1.7m funding & training support package to boost charity online retail

Melanie May | 26 June 2020 | News

eBay UK today launches a package of financial support and training to help more charities use online retail to raise funds with the pandemic still impacting activities.
eBay UK will be providing unrestricted grants of £1.7million to 250 of the charities most affected by declines in online revenue on its platform, to help make up for the shortfall in sales as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
To upskill charities, it has also announced plans to launch Charity Connect, a training programme to support at least 500 UK charities, including those not yet on eBay, to help them raise more money through more effective online sales. Charity Connect will help charity retailers build an effective online presence through dedicated customer service, onboarding assistance, promotional support and a tailored eBay training programme.
It will begin next month with a series of free weekly webinars for new and existing charity sellers on how to boost sales on eBay, including follow up 1:1 sessions with e-commerce experts. Training will begin from Tuesday 7 July and charities can book free by visiting here.
The charity initiative follows the blueprint of Retail Revival, a 12-month pilot programme with small businesses in Wolverhampton, where over 60 companies increased sales by 33% on eBay with revenues of over £7million through intensive ecommerce training and support.
Rob Hattrell, eBay UK Vice-President, said:

“Charities up and down the country can embrace online retail as a way to raise vital funds to keep operating during and after the pandemic. This is particularly important now, when so many traditional forms of fundraising remain unavailable.
“In addition to a cash injection of £1.7million to help existing charity sellers on eBay, our Charity Connect programme will upskill both new and existing charities on the platform to help them increase sales online.
“Covid-19 has accelerated the need for services and fundraising to have a strong digital presence and the sector is in danger of critical shortfalls without it. We hope the Chancellor will take the opportunity  in his forthcoming July Financial Statement to invest more in providing the digital step change the SME and charity sector needs.”

eBay UK has formed a coalition with Barnardo’s, the Charity Retail Association and New Philanthropy Capital, which is calling for the Government to create an innovation fund to help charities embrace online retail and support new models of digital innovation and service delivery in the sector.
Barnardo’s Retail Director, David Longmore, said:


How to move from Fundraiser to CEO - by Bruce Tait. Upwards white arrow on blue background.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has hit charities hard, with Barnardo’s losing a third of our income overnight as we closed shops and cancelled fundraising events. Like many others, we have had to innovate quickly and move services online, and we know that a digital-first approach must remain part of our offer, long after lockdown ends.
“Even as we begin to re-open our shops, online income streams such as eBay will be more important than ever. That’s why we’re calling for a Digital Innovation Fund, alongside eBay and others, to help charities embrace online retail and develop the range of services that vulnerable children and families need now and in the future.”

Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association, Robin Osterley, said:

“We were delighted to see the return of bricks and mortar shopping on 15 June. However, for a number of reasons, not all of our shops will be able to open immediately and so there is a real need for a continued focus on e-commerce as a valuable income stream. With this in mind, we expect the Charity Connect funding and training programmes will be welcomed by our members and we’re delighted to see eBay’s broader commitment to supporting digital innovation within the sector.”

In the UK, eBay has helped charities raise £160 million to date, with over £27 million raised last year.