By Richard Morris – CEO TheGivingMachine
Whenever one of the family, or indeed any of my friends, face an issue that has bothered them for a while and all the talking is done, you eventually get down to one of two options:
a) accept it and move on OR
b) do something about it
The alternative is to be trapped in the eternal loop of discussing the issue. These are always great wise words to use with other people but sometimes you have to take on board your own medicine.
Amazon is one of our most popular retailers but for some reason, won’t pay us the same rates as other partners and the time has come to do something about it as the impact has been so significant across so many causes. We refer business to them and they pay us a sales commission. For other businesses and for us at first this was a base level of 5% but over the last few years, the fact that we choose to give our income away to other charities, schools and community groups has meant that this has now been reduced to 1%.
This unfair treatment has so far led to about £400,000 in lost donations to good causes all across the UK including TheGivingMachine itself. For example:
- Aylesbury Grammar School lost out on about £1,700
- Honeywell Schools PTFA lost out on about £1,600
- Cranbrook School CSPA lost out on about £1,300
and it’s not just schools, over 7,000 causes have been impacted and they include hospices, Cancer Research, scout groups – and sadly the list goes on.
Once the scale of this issue and its impact became clear, I had to speak out even though being confrontational is not my style – collaboration and inclusiveness are what we are all about. Every £1 we can put back into our communities works to make our world a better place – especially via the smaller organisations who tackle the issues and support the groups of people that don’t make the headlines.
Please consider signing a petition that I will hand-deliver for every 1,000 signatories to Amazon UK to ask them to change their policy towards our charity. With your support, we can persuade them to reinstate the vital income stream for the causes we serve. All we want is the same rates as other businesses referring sales to them.
We started the charity to put the heart back into commerce and to ensure that schools, small charities and community groups benefited from a new way to raise money. So far we have enabled more than £1.7m in donations to be generated at no extra cost to supporters – just shop via our apps at over 2,300 of the best online retailers and give for free – it’s a no brainer.
In highlighting the Amazon issue, I was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s consumer affairs programme, You and Yours. In case you want to listen to the interview here’s the link:
One charity which has benefited enormously from raising funds in this way is The David Ashwell Foundation. David died two weeks after his birth, of a rare lung condition called ACD. His parents set up the charity in his name to raise money to research ACD. Nine years later, they have managed to fund research leading to potential understanding of the molecular and genetic causes of the disease and as a result of their work, there are beginning to be survivors including a five-month-old girl who has just had a transplant. This would not have been possible without asking their supporters to shop via TheGivingMachine.
The Songwriting Charity was formed about eight years ago to help young people and children to express themselves and be empowered by issues affecting them like bullying and low self-esteem. They do this through writing, performing and filming musical performance in a group setting. Outcomes include increased confidence and happier young people. “Some of the people we’ve worked with have gone on to have stage and west end careers,” said John Quinn, co-founder.
The Songwriting Charity, like the David Ashwell Foundation and so many others, is small and relies heavily on donations and grants. “We’ve been with TheGivingMachine since the early days,” says co-founder John Quinn. “It is easy to use and the premise is very simple – shop through this portal and trigger a donation from the retailer. You don’t have to do anything else. Once it’s ingrained in your online shopping behaviour, it’s brilliant. You get regular income with minimal effort and admin fees are low compared to others out there which we’ve used in the past”.
So I’m following my own advice – do something about it. My plea for Amazon and all other companies offering affiliate commission:
Please treat us the same as everyone else. We really value working with you and would love to be able to pass on as much money as possible to the amazing schools, charities and community groups we work with. The stories above are just a small glimpse into the difference we can make for causes which will never have a national profile but have a massive impact locally. Our plea is for parity with all those organisations being paid more than us because they are profit-making.
Together, we can make a huge difference but sometimes we have to speak out to make that happen. So just in case you missed the call to action earlier…