The concept of FriendLilySHOP


The concept of FriendLilySHOP is simply to make it easy for charities to receive money from donors. 

The stakeholders of the site are the charities, vendors, advertisers, and the consumers.

In my life I have owned a small business, worked with a charity and like all of us I am a consumer. Plus, I did sell elevator advertising to finance my university expenses, starting in the university’s pubs.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. My experiences good and bad, will help me to understand what each stakeholder needs to benefit from FriendLilySHOP.com. I will describe each stakeholder’s pain points, goals and motivations from my perspective and experiences.

Let us start with charities.


I was with the Kidney Foundation of Canada (Hamilton board) in the mid 2000’s, and it was a privilege. I realized it is a social investment when you donate time or money to a charity.

My Mother passed away in 2018 and it was related to kidney disease, which she only developed in her 88th year, after I was with the Kidney Foundation. 

When she was going through dialysis, I saw firsthand the support she received. It is nice to know when you or your loved one needs help and support it will be there. That is why I want donations to be easy for any donor to contribute to a charity. 

An important take-away from my time with the Kidney Foundations was the number of resources (money /time) to plan any fundraising event. The administration of the Hamilton Chapter of the Kidney Foundation was skilled at planning.

As we know it takes money to make money and any event will cost money. 


But here is the thing.

A charity plans an event, maybe a silent auction one evening.

  • rent a hall $$$
  • collect donations$$
  • liquor permit$
  • staff it$$
  • cater food$$
  • mailer (emails)$

What can go wrong on that exact date?

  • Leafs (insert any popular team) battle in the 7th game of a championship
  • a freak snowstorm / windstorm cripples the city
  • work emergency or new COVID rules reduce attendance

Of course, all speculation, but that makes you think. Events out of our control can derail any fundraiser. Charities need multiple revenue streams to offset a black swan.

Now let us look at what we do know from studies and surveys and plan around those behaviours and realities to make the charities prosper without ANY $$$$ outlay.

Below are articles I looked at for fundraising trends.

Why we give.

  • compassion for those in need (89%)
  • personally believe in a cause and want to help (85%)
  • contribute to our communities (79%)
  • personally affected by an organization’s cause (61%)
  • religious obligations or beliefs (29%)
  • income tax credit (23%)


Crowdfunding stats for non-profits show that crowdfunding success rates largely depend on four things:

  • Social media sharing – the rate of success rises with every social media contact – 10 friends increase 9%, 100 friends increase success by 20%, etc. 
  • Campaign descriptions of 300 to 500 words
  • Regular updates for supporters – update every 5 days result in 3X more donations
  • Videos – campaigns with video appeals raise 150% more than those without


What does the charity / non-profit landscape look like in Canada? – as per National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations (Hall et al., 2004)

  • there are over 170,000 charitable and nonprofit organizations in Canada. 1
  • 85,000 of these are registered charities (recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency). 
  • Over 13 million people volunteer for charities and nonprofits.

     Most government funding goes to a handful of charities.  2018 Giving Report – authors – Canadahelps.org and Imagine Canada 

  • $177.2 billion in funding from the government goes to the charitable sector but most of it ($150.9 billion) goes to 1 percent of the sector made up of mainly health and education charities.

     Canadians give over $14 billion annually to charity. 2018 Giving Report – authors – Canadahelps.org and Imagine Canada 

  • Younger generations are not giving in the same way as previous generations their age, and the charitable sector is relying on a narrowing older population, 70 years and older. This group will age out of giving in the next ten years, meaning $4.3 billion will be in serious jeopardy of exiting the charitable system.

 Online donations are on the rise. 2018 Giving Report – authors –   Canadahelps.org and Imagine Canada 

  • Although overall donations have decreased by 0.5 percent from 2006 to 2015, online donations have steadily increased by 20.5 percent annually over the same period.

      After all these facts and figures here are my strategies

  • Canadians are charitable with their money & time, so they need to be made aware of initiatives in their own community
  • make it a no risk and a no expense process for a charity to receive a contribution
  • lights, camera, now create some donating action -develop videos or write-ups to introduce the potential contributors to a charity’s message 
  • people just want to help – give them an easy way to contribute to their charity of choice – overlap shopping and donating
  • most donations for charities are given in December, make contributions a 365 day / 24-hour event
  • use social media’s power to connect with potential contributors, including the important younger cohorts (University / College)
  • allow cash donations to be made with a link from FriendLilySHOP.com straight to a charity’s donor page
  • target smaller regional charities – something you can see, and touch is a thing!

Thanks for READING MY BLOG – Next time we look at the vendors or better yet, let us call them what they are Canada’s Entrepreneurs



PLEASE READ MY BLOG will discuss the genesis of FriendLilySHOP and what factors I consider as I develop it. Feedback is appreciated (email on site) and in fact it is required. We all work in a vacuum and ignoring other’s ideas would be a mistake.

I will use a lot of bullet points in the BLOG. Bullet points allow me to break down an explanation into simple parts, plus they mask my poor syntax skills.

When the idea of starting an e-site began I needed to draw inspiration and insight from my past.

My businesses career started when I was fifteen and began working at my father’s pharmacies. 

I witnessed the interaction between customers and staff in a pretty busy place over 15 years.

As the owner’s son I was coddled and protected from any drama or confrontations, or you would think, but that was not the truth. When you are exposed to working with a parent for 15 years you see it all. I worked with my father every Saturday, throughout summer breaks and filled in when needed there was no way my father or his staff could hide anything. My father and his staff were very open with me about business. Those were the best lessons.

What I saw and understood was that no business is perfect, and you have to face and correct problems as they occur, and always make changes to keep the experience fresh. In other words manage relationships of the customer, employee and supplier.

Those lessons from years of retail experience can be applied to developing an on-line store – my goal is to incorporate and be observant of those experiences

  • on-line or in person you need to have empathy for your customers, and understand them (personas)
  • listen to the employees, who are real-time data collectors 
  • you need to constantly keep the retail floor or website fresh
  • ask customers questions to make sure they are thoroughly served and find out if there were products, they would like you to carry 
  • be important to your suppliers – it helps for pricing, exclusive deals, and delivery timelines 
  • make sure your suppliers are important to you  – see previous
  • resolve issues quickly
  • use the “Hey Norm” effect – know your customer’s name and what they purchase – technology now enables helpful customizing
  • be real, transparent, acknowledge mistakes and include all the things as a consumer you would want – again – have empathy

I want this blog to be like my experience at the pharmacy, honest and educational. As the reader I know you are too busy to read platitudes of how this company is the best thing and it is always a blue sky day and event free.  

I will explain to you, not market at you. 

FriendLilySHOP.com is about the stories of the stakeholders, but it begins with FriendLilySHOP’s story.

I do not want this to be just a blah, blah, blog.

THE NEXT BLOGS will breakdown each of the stakeholder of the site – charities, vendors, advertisers and the consumer.