Black Friday Donation Incentives: How to Ditch Discounts for Your Ecommerce Store

Written by Dayana Mayfield

Written by Dayana Mayfield

Black Friday and Cyber Monday come around every year. And every year, there’s the same expectation: jaw-dropping deals. 

The pressure is on you to offer impressive discounts, whether that pressure is real (requests from customers and followers) or imagined (trying to keep up with big brands). 

Fortunately, there are ways to capture the excitement of BFCM shopping without adding to the discounting frenzy. 

Steep discounts aren't right for every brand

The whole Black Friday Cyber Monday culture is simply not a fit for many brands, especially as conscious consumerism grows.

Here are some of the reasons why it might not be a fit for you:

  • Not profitable 75% of customers report that they scan their inboxes for relevant discounts. Discounts absolutely can increase your sales and help you convert social media followers and email subscribers into first-time customers. However, the sort of steep discounts that consumers expect to see on Black Friday and Cyber Monday might not be profitable for your brand. Oftentimes, major retailers and marketplaces will offer “loss leaders,” products that are sold at a loss but that lead to profitable purchases of other items. 
  • Cheapens perceived value – You might not want to discount your products because you don’t want to lower their perceived value. Many small ecommerce companies don’t discount their products beyond a 10% or 15% first-time order discount. 
  • Few SKUs or subscription-based – If you don’t have very many SKUs, or if you have a subscription-based business model, you might be even more cautious about the perceived value of your products, and even less likely to want to offer BFCM discounts.
  • Customers might wait for sales – If you continually discount your products, you could accidentally train customers to wait for more sales. 
  • Not what your brand wants to portray – Maybe offering discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday simply doesn’t pass your brand’s vibe check. Maybe it’s just too box-store-variety consumerism for your audience.
  • Causes price comparison – When you discount products for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you might trigger social media followers and email subscribers to search for other deals from your competitors. Your promotional materials could pique their curiosity into what other deals they could get for products like yours.
Let’s explore a better way to take part in Black Friday.

“Donation incentives offer the ability to donate to a cause when hitting an order minimum. For example, customers could donate $15 if they spend $50 or more, rather than get a discount for $15.”

Why donation incentives are the perfect fit for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Thanksgiving is contentious enough without making it highly capitalistic. After all, Thanksgiving partly represents the continued assault on Native Peoples

Rather than ramp up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals just for the sake of shopping, you might instead take a more nuanced approach to the season. Make it about giving, not all about your business. 

Cause marketing (simultaneously elevating your brand and aligned causes) is on the rise because Gen Z and millennial buyers are demanding more environmental and social responsibility from the brands they buy from.

Donation incentives offer the ability to donate to a cause when hitting an order minimum. For example, customers could donate $15 if they spend $50 or more, rather than get a discount for $15. 

Donation incentives are the perfect fit for Black Friday and Cyber Monday because they:

  • Appeal to conscious consumers
  • Increase average order values without discounts
  • Increase brand loyalty and improve brand reputation
  • Align with the season in a more ethical and responsible way

Now, let’s get into how to offer donation incentives for your ecommerce store. 

How to offer donation incentives to customers

You need the right software to manage the incentives as well as creative assets to get your followers and customers on board. Here’s how to do it. 

1. Use a donation incentive platform

First, you need to choose a platform built for managing donation incentives.

The platform should include these important features:

  • Custom incentives – You should be able to set up donation incentives for any order or for a specific minimum order quantity. 
  • Doesn’t affect checkout – The platform should trigger after a qualifying order so it doesn’t interfere with your optimized checkout flow. 
  • Spotlight charities of your choice – You should be able to add charities to your donation page. With Givz, you can spotlight any charity you want while also allowing customers to search for the charity of their choice and bypass your suggestions. 
  • Donations handled for you – The platform should send donations to charities on your behalf and provide the documentation you need for tax purposes.
  • Branded to match your store – The donation page should be fully customizable to match your store’s branding. 

Givz has monthly plans starting as low as $19 to manage donation incentives. Check out our plans and pricing.

2. Choose a minimum order value slightly higher than your average order

Once you’ve chosen the right platform for your business, the next step is to strategize the donation incentive. 

To help cover the cost of the donation and increase your average order value at the same time, make sure that the minimum qualifying order is higher than your average order value. Depending on your budget for donations during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you might set the minimum qualifying order value to anywhere from 1.1X to 2X your average order value. 

3. Highlight charities that are aligned with feeding the hungry and your brand mission

Next, it’s time to pick the charities that you want to feature on your giving page. Sakara, which offers healthy ready-to-eat meals, chose to feature Feeding America for its Thanksgiving and Black Friday promotion. 

If your brand doesn’t already align with a specific environmental or social cause, then it’s smart to align a Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotion with an organization that combats hunger. Even if your brand aligns with a specific cause already, you might want to still highlight food-related organizations in addition to ones closer to your brand’s existing causes. 

4. Create promotional assets for email and social media

Your email list and social media accounts will be the best drivers of traffic for donation-based promotions. Create assets for multiple emails, Instagram stories, TikTok videos, Reels, and Instagram feed posts. 

Here’s an example of an Instagram story from Sakara:

And here’s how Kencko announced their donation incentive for Cyber Monday.

5. Compare donation incentives to discounts in terms of cost, conversions and brand alignment.

After you’ve launched your donation incentives for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s time to measure results.

Consider all of these factors:

  • Cost – Because not every customer will select a charity post-checkout, donation incentives typically cost far less than discount-based promotions. 
  • Conversions – Compare your conversions for emails about your donation incentives to ones sent for a discount and to emails without either type of offer. H&M experienced a 15% conversion rate from their emails about their donation incentive. 
  • Brand alignment – See what customers have to say about your donation incentive. Check email responses and social media comments to gather customer feedback. You should also pay attention to positive engagement and high click-through rates. Even if these things aren’t direct written feedback about the incentive, they still correlate with a positive brand perception.

Want to offer donation incentives instead of discounts this Black Friday? See the results for yourself with Givz.

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