eBay helps MasterCard help Big Bros.

MasterCard, a longtime supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, 'wanted to try something new this year, because with our CHL, NHL and PGA sponsorships we have access to some assets that we know a lot of Canadians would think are priceless, unique experiences,' says Tammy Scott, Toronto-based VP, brand marketing, MasterCard. 'So we thought, let's try an eBay auction.'

MasterCard, a longtime supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, ‘wanted to try something new this year, because with our CHL, NHL and PGA sponsorships we have access to some assets that we know a lot of Canadians would think are priceless, unique experiences,’ says Tammy Scott, Toronto-based VP, brand marketing, MasterCard. ‘So we thought, let’s try an eBay auction.’

MasterCard’s ‘Priceless’ brand strategy provided a strong platform. They awarded unique ‘priceless packages’ to the highest bidders – tickets to the Stanley Cup final game, backstage and VIP access to CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, and a golf day with Bobby Orr at the Canadian Open.

The fundraiser garnered over $19,000, and matching that dollar for dollar (and then some), the brand donated more than $39,000 to BBBS.

From the amount raised, to media impressions and market buzz, Scott rates the first-time team-up with eBay Canada a big success. ‘Definitely I would keep the door open on the possibility of doing more. Obviously people want to donate money out of the kindness of their heart for great organizations like BBBS, but playing on the Pro-Am tour with Bobby Orr in exchange for donating money for a great cause to me is a real win-win.’

To date, more than $95 million has been raised for charities through fundraising on eBay. And since 2005, eBay has let companies credit its fees back to the charity. ‘It’s a huge advantage for them now to come on board,’ says Erin Sufrin, manager, PR, eBay Canada, noting that the number of brand-sponsored charity auctions has at least tripled since the policy came into effect.

Sufrin says the online auction route is becoming a recognized way to do something that’s low cost but very far reaching. ‘I think certainly as charities and companies see others having success, they’re saying ‘Hey, maybe this is something that we can do.’ And they’re using eBay, which has its own built-in buzz factor, to spread a lot of awareness, not just in Canada, but worldwide.’