Charity: A Good Business Model for a Publishing Affiliate?

February 18, 2016 BY Lee Currie - Get free updates of new posts HERE
Tapping into the desire to support good causes is an effective way of capturing people’s attention, but is it the kind of business model that yields results for a publishing affiliate? We take a look at how charity works when done right.

When an industry contributes to a good cause, it tends to draw attention. The marriage of consumerism and philanthropy, however, is a shaky relationship, leaving some people unclear about its legitimacy and whether or not they really go together at all.

It certainly raises questions as to whether or not a charity-based business model can genuinely work, not just from a marketing standpoint, but from a socially responsible frame of mind also. So what about for a publishing affiliate, is it feasible?

The offers are there… Sort of


Affiliate marketing has tapped into the potential for brands and retailers to broaden their marketing reach across the globe, that much is evident. When it comes to charities, however, the number of organisations utilising this channel is still catching up.

Maybe networks have yet to effectively reach out to charities for fear of promoting unmarketable offers, or maybe it’s the other way around and charities are concerned about return on their marketing spend. Regardless of the reasons why, the number of charity-based offers across affiliate networks is thin on the ground.

Transparency is key


Yes, there are a select number of charity-based offers out there, but you’re going to have to subsidise with non-charity offers in order to generate a reasonable return and donate the profit to your chosen organisation. If that’s the case, it’s important to openly differentiate between the two types (charity-based and regular) to ensure users are clear about the means and ends.

In other words, there’s no reason you can’t build a legitimate charity-based affiliate business using commercial offers and promotions. The key is to be transparent about what you are offering customers and what you intend to do with the money generated.

So with that in mind, here’s 4 more principles that you should follow for you charity-based affiliate business.

Tell people your mission

Every charity has a mission statement, whether it’s as punchy as The British Heart foundation’s We fight for every heartbeat, or as matter of fact as Oxfam’s To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice. Either way, it helps to get people to connect with your charity if they understand as exactly what it is you do and why you’re doing it.

Show people how you have already helped

Social proof, like testimonials and reviews, are an effective way of getting people to complete offers and purchases. As a charity-based website, you can increase this level of social proof by including pictures and statements from causes you have contributed to through your business.

Include a Donate button

Not everybody visiting your site will be interested in the offers you are promoting, so give them an option to donate directly, and include the number of donations received to date so people know you are active and trusted.

Keep in touch

You should already be creating fresh content on a regular basis to keep your affiliate site to Google’s standards, that is a given, but are you offering content to email subscribers and followers across social media? People who have already donated will be keen to hear how you are progressing. Also, it’s an ideal platform for people to share your content and spread your message.


Written by Lee Currie
Lee is the content manager at Monetise and loves all things marketing. He oversees article production and publication on the Monetise website.