An eBay Charity Perspective for Developers

This article explores charity support in Public APIs and hypothetical integration scenario walkthroughs for developers who wish to integrate with eBay for Charity in their eBay-powered experiences.

The eBay for Charity program had its beginnings in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Formally launched on eBay’s global platform in 2003, the eBay for Charity program proudly celebrates the generosity of our community with over $1 billion raised towards charitable causes— including $112 million in 2019 alone.

Designed to support a wide range of cause areas including disaster relief, child and youth development, animal programs and environmental projects, over 83,000 charities have been integrated onto the eBay for Charity program worldwide. Of these, over 8,000 charities directly sell to support their causes. In addition, over 360,000 eBay sellers have generously contributed from their own proceeds to support a charity.

While this program primarily caters to the United States and the United Kingdom, it also has a presence in Canada, Germany, Australia, and Italy. eBay is actively working on expanding the reach of this program into these countries, while exploring potential expansion opportunities in new regions.

In the sections below we will cover both the functional and technical aspects of the eBay for Charity program. 

Where Intentions Translate to Action for Good

The eBay for Charity program gives our buyers and sellers a way to invest in causes they care about. As the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, thousands of our community members have stepped in to help others in this hour of need. You can find examples of eBay listings that support efforts to minimize the impact of the pandemic here.

In addition to nonprofits that help with COVID-19 relief, the eBay for Charity program supports a range of other efforts. One such example is the "More Than Words” job training and youth development program. More Than Words empowers young people in the foster care system, court-involved, out-of-school or homeless to take charge of their lives by leading a business.

As another example, human-I-T has been helping students learn at home by getting them the electronics and resources they need to succeed. The nonprofit has delivered thousands of laptops to school districts. Efforts by charities such as human-I-T help close the learning gap and provide less privileged children the opportunity to obtain the skills they need to qualify for technology jobs.

You will find many more inspiring stories here.

Functional Deep Dive

This section covers Charity for Selling, Buying and Fundraising.

Charity for Selling

There are several facets to the selling experience within the eBay for Charity program. Any eBay seller who wishes to support charity is called a community seller. A charity organization can also sell to support itself, in which case, it’s called a direct seller. In addition, there is support for charities to sell symbolic gifts to support causes with the Gifts that Give Back feature. In all cases, eBay provides fee credits to sellers.

Community selling supports sellers who wish to donate anywhere between 10% to 100% of sales proceeds to a charity they love. In the Motors category, the donation can be as low as 1%. The process is straightforward. Whenever sellers are listing items, they simply select to donate, choose any one of the 83,000-plus charities supported by the program, add the percentage they wish to donate—and they are done! Charity discovery is enabled both on the web and through eBay’s portfolio of APIs. eBay also supports seller efforts by crediting a portion of the final value fees and insertion fees for listing for charity. For more information, go here.

Besides eBay fee credits, search results will show that the listing benefits a charity. In the listing itself, the title will display a charity ribbon and the description will show a banner describing the charity. Sellers have reported an uplift in sale conversion for their listings supporting charity. One of our most-supported community seller charities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has raised a total of over $3 million on eBay.

Direct selling supports charities to sell and raise money for themselves and their programs. They receive the same benefits as community sellers with the charity ribbon that displays on listings and the charity banner in the listing descriptions. Since these sellers always donate 100% of their proceeds to their charity, all of their selling fees are credited. For more information, go here. 

The Gifts that Give Back feature gives buyers a way  to provide direct donations for causes. These symbolic gifts are listed directly by charities to support fundraising efforts for current causes or for ongoing needs. A description of what the money will support is included in the listing description. These gifts have been invaluable in efforts to provide COVID-19 relief along with continuous support for ongoing programs. For more information, go here.

Charity for Buying

The eBay for Charity program allows buyers to channel their goodwill by purchasing inventory that directly or indirectly aids fundraising efforts for causes or charities they care about. The Browse API, for example, supports search capabilities to surface items that benefit charities.

Charity Fundraising

Buyers can also support charity during checkout where either a buyer's favorite charity or an eBay-recommended charity is displayed with a list of supported amounts. Buyers can choose a favorite charity on the eBay for Charity U.S. site or U.K. site. Favorite charities will also show up in selling flows for sellers to easily select. Favorites are currently supported only in the United States and United Kingdom.

eBay users can manage their donation accounts from the U.S. donation dashboard or the U.K. donation dashboard. This dashboard displays pending donations, donation history, favorite charities and various other settings. The settings include creating an automatic donation payment method to automatically pay your donations 21 days after any sales that involve charity. The 21-day period allows any refunds to happen, if necessary. Sellers can also choose whether they want their contact information shared with the charities they are supporting.

Integration Deep Dive

This section covers conceptual approaches to integrating Charity with Buying and Selling experiences powered by Public APIs.

Selling—A Simple Two-Step Guide to Charity Integration

Step 1: Enable charity discovery 

Enable easy discovery of a seller’s favorite charities using search by keywords or search by registration IDs (which would be EIN in the U.S. or CN in the U.K.) through an integration with Charity Search.

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Both calls return a paginated collection of charity organization details. The results are sorted by relevance in case of keyword search.

Charity API also supports retrieving details for a charity organization for a given charity’s ID.

Step 2: Use the selected charity

Enable the use of charity ID field from the seller’s selection in Step 1 along with a seller-specified donation percentage while creating or updating an offer for their inventory.

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It’s as easy as that!

Buying—A Simple Two-Step Guide to Charity Integration

Step 1: Enable charity discovery

Enable discovery of a buyer’s favorite charities following a similar approach as in Step 1 of the previous section. Buyers should then be able to select multiple charities for Step 2.

Step 2: Use selected charities

Based on the buyer’s selections in Step 1, use the registration_id field values from the charity API response as charity_ids filter in the Browse call to display items for the selected charities. This filter could be used along with other supported search filters, parameters and field groups.

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Wrap Up

We’re proud to spotlight eBay for Charity, a distinctive program with global impact that spans almost two decades, connects thousands of trusted, active charities with our beloved community and has raised over a billion dollars. eBay for Charity can stake its claim as a platform differentiator. 

True to the spirit of eBay's principles on powering the world’s largest marketplace through the simple philosophy of “people are good,” eBay for Charity combines goodness with the generosity of millions of our community members in a secure, transparent manner that guarantees trust.  

The addition of the Charity API to eBay’s portfolio of Public APIs allows developers to fully integrate charitable buying and selling into their eBay-powered experiences. As a reminder, all eBay RESTful Public APIs are released with OpenAPI 3.0 and 2.0 documents for easy integration across multiple technology stacks.

As the world grapples with the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, the eBay for Charity program has played a vital  role, enabling the generosity of our eBay community to seamlessly flow to the charities who have been untiring in their efforts to aid those in desperate need across the globe. There has never been a greater call to push charity to the front and center of buyer and seller experiences.