In November 2005, the Cottonwood Institute implemented a program to diversify our revenue stream called Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing has been popular in the for-profit sector, but is it appropriate for your non-profit?
Affiliate marketing is a tactic used by merchants to drive traffic to their online businesses. To explain how this all works, we created the CI Store where we post affiliate merchant ads. When someone visits our store, clicks on an affiliate ad, and makes a purchase, the Cottonwood Institute is rewarded by receiving a commission or flat fee for that sale that we helped generate. All of the revenue we generate through our affiliate marketing program goes towards our General Scholarship Fund.
We wanted to develop partnerships with affiliates that would add value to the students who register for our courses. We developed a partnership with REI.com so students could purchase the gear they needed for their course, Orbitz.com so students outside of Colorado could make their travel arrangements, and Book Sense so students could buy the books they needed. To read more about the Cottonwood Institute’s affiliate marketing strategy, download a copy of a recent article that appeared in the Daily Camera in January 2006 by clicking here.
Question: Has your non-profit implemented an affiliate marketing program? If so, what has it made it successful or unsuccessful?