Mark Berry introduces the new Phoenix Rising Store and explains how you can donate to Phoenix Rising for free while doing your holiday shopping online.
At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, the annual festive season is now well and truly upon us.
In the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day, so I’ll take this opportunity to wish all our American readers a very Happy Thanksgiving…and I’ll encourage you to look forward to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the shopping festival to come, with the Phoenix Rising Store firmly in mind…
Here in the UK, Thanksgiving is a bit of a mystery to most of us, but we’re already gearing up for Christmas, and for those who think far enough ahead, the Christmas shopping is well under way. In my home town, the Christmas tree has been up in the market square for a few weeks now, the Christmas lighting adorns the streets in the city center once again, and the Christmas market is in full swing.
It’s quite well known that these mid-winter festivities are a crucial time of year for many retailers, some of whom take as much as half of their annual income during the couple of months of the holiday season. What many don’t realize is that it’s a crucial time of year for many charitable organizations as well, with charitable donations increasing too during the holiday season, and Phoenix Rising is no exception to this. Our existing Amazon stores have become such an important source of income for Phoenix Rising that we decided this would be a good time to expand to cover other online retailers as well – and so, the Phoenix Rising Store was born…
So what exactly is the Phoenix Rising Store?
Simply put, the Phoenix Rising Store is a web page with a list of links to a variety of online retailers. If you click on those links and go on to buy something from those retailers, Phoenix Rising gets paid a percentage of whatever you spend. You don’t get charged anything extra for shopping via these links, so it’s a free and easy way to donate to Phoenix Rising.
In a little more detail, these kind of arrangements between retailers and websites are called “affiliate schemes”. Organizations like Phoenix Rising can sign up to be an ‘affiliate’ of the various online retailers, and the retailers provide us with special links to their online stores which have a code embedded in them to tell the retailers that the shopper came to them via our website. That code is used by the retailers so that they know to pay us a percentage of what the shopper spent. As a US 501(c)3 non-profit organization, there’s an added bonus for Phoenix Rising: the affiliate fees we receive are (usually) tax-free…
Because of the way these codes in the link work, the only easy and reliable way to make sure we receive the commission on your purchases is to click on the links directly in the Phoenix Rising Store page. If you click on the link and then bookmark the page it directs you to, that won’t always work: sometimes the code has been processed into a cookie, and other times the link goes out of date. If you’re a little more technically confident, you can right-click on a link in our Store, copy the link, and paste that into your bookmark for the retailer (there are some hints on bookmarking web pages on the Phoenix Rising Store page). But do be a bit careful if you do that: some of those links may be subject to change, and indeed the links for our international Amazon stores have recently changed, so if you have those bookmarked, please update them to use the new links detailed in the Phoenix Rising Store.
Which retailers are in the store?
In addition to our existing (and very successful) affiliate schemes with Amazon and iGive, so far we’ve added stores with retail giant Walmart (US only), the world’s largest bookseller Barnes & Noble (US only), online bookseller The Book Depository, vitamin, supplement and health food retailers ProHealth and Vitacost, and Apple’s iTunes.
We’re guessing those major retailers might prove a good match with our members’ online shopping habits, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on how much money we receive from those schemes and listening to your feedback on who else you shop with online. So if there’s another retailer you regularly shop with, please do let us know – who else should we hook up with next?
The focus in this first group of retailers is somewhat on the US, because of the upcoming shopping season in the US, but we’ll be adding some more UK and international retailers very soon, and we’ll keep updating the page as we find out what works best. So bookmark our store and keep an eye out for more opportunities to give as you buy.
In addition to the permanent links from the online retailers, many of them advertise special offers through special links they provide to us. So near the top of the Phoenix Rising Store page, you’ll see a list of the latest special offers we thought might interest our readers. Some of these offers provide savings to you as a shopper; others provide extra benefits to Phoenix Rising.
There are big savings to be had from the major US retailers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday of course, so we’ve been through some of their links and picked out the ones we thought you might like.
There’s a special deal from our long-term partners iGive as well, which is valid until the end of Cyber Monday (December 2nd). If you’re not already signed up to iGive, click here to visit Phoenix Rising’s iGive page and sign up and then click on the iGive button – we’ll get $5 for free, even if you don’t go on to do any shopping with iGive’s range of hundreds of retailers! We like free money!
We’ll keep updating the Store with more Special Offers as and when we hear about them, so do bookmark the page and check it regularly if you have an eye for bargains.
Our Amazon shop has been a huge success in the last year, and your Amazon purchases have helped keep Phoenix Rising running. By building on that successful model, we’re hoping we can increase Phoenix Rising’s income significantly, enabling us to deliver more of the services and projects that we want to get to work on next year.
It costs you nothing to support Phoenix Rising in this way, and it makes a big difference to our bottom line, so thank you all very much for all your support in the last year, and I hope you’ll now take advantage of the new retailers we’ve added – and the other retailers we’ll be adding soon.
If you’ve any questions about the Phoenix Rising Store, or ideas on how we can improve it, I look forward to hearing them. Happy shopping![appeal]?