This is the second of two articles on how churches can use Amazon.com wish lists for ministry. If you missed part one on setting up an Amazon wish list, you might want to read that first.
Using an Amazon Wish List Widget
Now that you have an Amazon wish list, how can people find your list? While some people might stumble across it directly on Amazon, a great way to get people to find your wish list is to embed it on your church or ministry website. You could just put a link to your wish list, but there’s a much better way: using the Amazon Wish List Widget to embed the list itself on your site.
A quick word on the Amazon Associate program: If you’re not familiar with Amazon Associates, it’s an affiliate marketing program through Amazon. Basically, if you sign up as an affiliate, you can create links to any product or page on Amazon.com. Click here for more information about the Associates program. When someone clicks on your link and orders a product (any product, not just the one you linked to), you get a commission for the sale. Commissions currently start at 4% and go up from there. (Full disclosure: I’m part of the Amazon Associate program, so if you order anything after clicking an Amazon link on this site, I get a commission on it.) The reason I mention the associate program here is that if you are an affiliate and someone buys a product through your wishlist, you should get a commission for it. Also, if you are an affiliate, you have the ability to save your widgets and come back to them to make changes later without going through this process again. You don’t have to sign up for the affiliate program to use wishlists, especially if you have concerns about selling things through your church website, but it makes editing wish lists easier and could add a little bit of income.
To get started embedding your wish list, go here, and search for your list. If your list has a common name, a list of possible matches will appear and you’ll need to select your list from the results. If you don’t find it, try searching by your account name. Alternatively, you can search by email, using the email address of the account you were logged into when you created the list.
Once you’ve found your wish list, you can customize the widget you’ll be putting on your website. First, change the title. This is what appears at the top of the widget. You can go through the options given and choose how big you want your widget to be, how many columns and rows you want it to have, and what information you want visible. The size you select will depend on how you’re putting it into your website. Of course, it can’t be larger than the site you’re putting it on, so this might require some experimentation. You can come back and adjust this later, so for now, just pick a size.
Next, click the “Customize It” link. This will give you a couple more customization options. You can pick from the four overall design schemes, then select a color theme, and modify the header, link, and body text of the widget to fit into your site’s color scheme. Again, this can be modified later, so pick the best looking one for now and move on. Don’t worry too much about the link colors and such yet.
Publicizing Your Amazon Wish List
Now that you have your wish list set up and integrated into your site, you need to let people know it exists. This can be done in a variety of ways. Some ideas are to mention it in the newsletter or weekly announcement sheet, make occasional announcements in worship about the impact the gifts are having or what the current needs are, and mention it on social media.
I found out about the Crossways Camps wish list through Facebook. I’ve liked the Crossways page, so I saw when they posted about their wish list, and I was excited to buy something off their list. Don’t spam people of course, but it’s fine to mention the list multiple times. This isn’t a one time thing, but rather an ongoing way for people to contribute.
Another great way to get people excited is to post pictures when items from the list are received. Even without saying who they’re from, this is both a great way to thank people and for others to get excited to donate.
I hope these posts have been helpful to you and your ministry. If you have any questions, comment below and I’ll do my best to help. Also, if you have success with your Amazon wish list, I’d love to hear about it. Share your list below.
For more tips on using the internet for ministry, follow me on Twitter at @churchWebTips.