Charities Hit Record Sales On eBay

A record of nearly $102 million was generated via auction and direct sales by nonprofits during 2018 through eBay for Charity, an increase exceeding 20 percent compared to the $84 million raised in 2017.

More than 66,000 charities use the online auction platform, which has raised $911.4 million since 2003, approaching its goal of $1 billion raised for charity by 2020.

People used eBay to raise money last year for victims of California wildfires and support those battling cancer, according to a press release announcing the 2018 total. Charities also benefit from sellers who chose to donate a percentage of their sales and buyers who donate at checkout.

The largest single fundraiser on eBay for Charity is the annual Power Lunch with Warren Buffett, which last year raised $3.3 million for GLIDE, a San Francisco, Calif.-based human services charity. It was the third-highest bid in the 19-year history of the Power Lunch auction, only surpassed by $3.456 million raised in both 2012 and 2016. The winning bidder, who remained anonymous, had the opportunity to bring up to seven friends for lunch with Buffett at Smith & Wollensky in New York City.

Among U.S.-based organizations, GLIDE was the second-highest grossing charity on eBay last year, second only to Seattle Goodwill. The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries affiliates are among the top-grossing organizations on eBay thanks to their retail operations and thrift stores. A number of Goodwill Industries affiliates rank within the top 10 of U.S.-based charities generating revenue via eBay for Charity, using it as an online retail arm of their operations.

Among the charities highlighted by eBay for Charity were:

  • The 60th annual Grammy Awards raised $140,000 for the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares;
  • The 14th annual ESPY Day Auction raised $650,000 in support of the V Foundation for Cancer Research;
  • The Time’s Up charity campaign raised $140,000 to benefit the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund; and,
  • The second annual Veterans Day Celebrity Auction raised $160,000 for Homes for Our Troops.