" Fundraising With MLM and Affiliates Programs" by Jack Spirko
Copyright (c) 2002
All Rights Reserved
One of the most powerful forms of marketing is affinity marketing where a product or service is offered to a group bound by a common belief or purpose. When this approach is enhanced by profits from the product or service being returned to the group as a fundraising source the results can be phenomenal. Many multi-level and affiliates programs can be effectively used with this approach, however; not all are a good match.
There are ten key components that must be in place for this to be a viable means of developing business for your program. Does your program form a good match for fund raising through affinity marketing? Put it to the test to find out.
1. The opportunity must be completely free to join.
You are going to go to the Pastor of a church, the head of a local PTA or a large non-profit organization and tell them you have a great way for them to make money for their organization. You will explain how it will benefit their members and how easy it will be for them to use. If you finish this approach by asking them for a $200 check don't be surprised if they send you packing fast. These groups know they have purchasing power why should they pay you for the privilege of buying from you ?
2. The products or services must be of good quality.
Let me be clear here not just because you say so. You must be able to resonate with the leaders of these groups easily. You must either have a provider with a well-known name or a very easy to understand service or product. If it will take you more then 5 minutes to explain to this group why and how you can help them you are sunk. They are not looking to start a home based business. They have a mission that you are there to help them fund. Be prepared to explain how you can help quickly and with out a lot of technical expertise.
3. You must have third party endorsement for your company.
While not an absolute necessity it sure helps. These groups don't want to do anything to alienate their membership. They will need to feel that what you have to offer will not only benefit them but their members as well. Having an independent third party that endorses your company will ease a lot of fears.
4. It helps to have references where your company did this with other non-profits.
Again this is not an absolute necessity because keep in mind to have a reference someone had to be first. It would certainly be advantageous to be able to give the names of several organizations that work with your company already and are satisfied with the results. Find out if anyone with your company has done this with any success and if so with whom they are working. In my case when I found out that a local branch of the United Way was a partner of my company and began to use them as a reference doors began to open. Ask your leadership if such partnerships exist. If they do and you don't use them you are wasting a valuable tool in building your business.
5. The plan should require very little effort from the non-profit.
This is oh so important! Again remember this group does not want a business like you have. They simply want to gain additional revenue with very little effort while helping their members. You know the way all the big time advertisers say you will with little to no effort. The difference is with your leadership and assistance they can have immediate success because they have something you don't. A large group of people who want to help and will if they can do so with out spending a huge sum of money and with out being inconvenienced.
6. You must work to use all the organizations existing lines of communication with its' members to get the message out. Such as print newsletters, meetings, email updates and their existing web site.
This one is up to you. You must be willing to work with their Webmaster, their publisher of any newsletter and anyone who speaks to the group regularly. You should do all the writing and provide it to them in an easy to use format including a 2-5 minute commercial for the speaker to use. Don't be shocked if the speaker gets the most response from the members. You should know enough about web sites to add a link to their site or even build them a simple site if they don't have one. The key is you must do all the initial work for them. This is also why your service or product must be easy to explain. So you have enough time to continue you other pursuits. From yes to launch should take only a few hours of work if your company is a good match for this type of marketing. Of course a huge organization will take more effort but in that case you can afford to spend the time and you will be well rewarded for it.
7. You absolutely must be able to generate significant income with out recruiting anyone else.
Now we all know the big payoff in MLM and Affiliates Programs is in the deep levels but these groups won't be out recruiting. Automated recruiting is a myth by the way. Sure you can automate huge parts of it but if you could really put you business on auto pilot you would not be reading this you would be sipping Pina' Coladas on an island somewhere. If you don't pass this one by the way you are most likely not in a legitimate opportunity. The government's first question when evaluating the legality of any MLM is "can the last person in still make money by retailing product or service".
8. The products or services must be of a type that is used without thought once the customer signs up.
All MLM companies try to accomplish this but not all do a great job at it. The many companies the sell supplements don't usually make good fundraising companies. Things like Internet access, long distance service and other facts of life are usually a good fit. In this case the organization only needs to get its' members to spend money they are already spending. The groups you will approach will be far more open to this as well.
9. All transactions must be conducted online to prevent the organization from becoming a paper pusher.
You should also be able to help people off-line. Guess who gets to do that! You do of course that is the main reason to keep it at a minimum. It should be this simple. The organization signs up as your subagent, they add a link to their web site, they put a blurb in each news letter, the speakers who conduct meetings announce and give the 2 minute commercial you prepared for them, members go to the organizations site and sign up. You give the group your contact information for folks with out access to the net. If the group has a computer on site then training a few folks on the ins and outs of the web site is a good idea. Members that don't have a PC at home can then use the organization computer and this will save you time and effort.
10. You must save the members money.
Remember this is not your typical customer or partner here. This is a large group and they want a deal because they have many members. You had better have competitive prices for them or you will never get anywhere at all with your efforts. If you save them money you really can sell the leadership on the fact that this is a benefit for their members and that will make the entire effort a success. Even if some of your services or products cost the same as others out there you still have the leverage of the group's loyalty and desire to help the organization. If you are more expensive then what is on the open market hang up your hat with fundraising and pursue other markets.
So just what types of companies make a good match for this method of marketing. In my opinion Telecommunications are the best fit followed by discount plans for dental services etc. Online malls would be a great bet if anyone ever gets them right. Keep in mind the no cost to enroll requirement. Telecom is simply ideal because everyone has a phone, most folks use the Internet and once a person signs up they simply forget about it and the bill becomes a fact of life. Also telemarketers will have a hard time selling long distance to a person who knows part of their bill goes to their church, their child's school or the local SPCA. Nor are they likely to run out and by a new cell phone because they see a skier use it during the Olympics on TV.
So how does your company measure up to the fundraising challenge? If it meets most of the ten requirements you should begin to pursue this type of business. These groups bring quick volume and are fiercely loyal if you do your job correctly. With a little time, effort and creativity you can bring a whole new dimension to your business.
Jack Spirko has lived for years by the motto "the customer comes first". Having reached the top in Corporate America he is currently building an incredibly successful group with Cognigen Networks. You can email him at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his web site at http//:www.carefreecom.com.
Written by: Jack Spirko