Damian and I have been attending every big gathering and city event we can possibly go to to help spread our story. And I am humbled to report that every time we do that, we are noticed. People really do want to help. People are so good!!
Meanwhile, it's high-time I really take my online fundraising up a notch and now I know how! For the past few months, I've secretly been part of the Amazon Affiliates Program, which allows people to link to any product on Amazon and earn a commission if someone uses their link to get to the site/app. I wasn't sure how it worked at the time, so I didn't do anything with my membership besides read into it.
But the more I am learning about social media (and I have been learning a lot in the past year), the more I have been wanting to tap into the revenue that influencers make online. I finally think I know enough to get started and about 2 weeks ago, I took the plunge and posted my first product link.
Why? A few reasons:
We're now in a serious time crunch and have passed our initial goal of hitting $3 million by June 2022 - I'm not giving up, but I do have to work faster
It doesn't cost my followers anything (beyond the purchase that they were going to make anyway)
It is MUCH more lucrative than I thought it would be...
My "earnings" from just this week are already making this fundraising avenue look like a total game changer!!! Check out the earnings report for the first 2 weeks!!
How it Works
Without going into the crazy tech jargon... basically, when you click a link that I post, the store website (in this case, Amazon) knows that my specific link led you to their website and will award me a percentage if you end up purchasing something within that same sitting, from the same device. And get this - your purchase doesn't even need to include the specific item I linked to. Amazon will give me a percentage of your whole cart!
Try it out by clicking the photo link posted here of the awesome hands-free bottle Damian uses, or clicking the link here! Doing so starts the shopping experience at Amazon, and if it ends with a purchase, then I get a percentage of the profit of whatever you buy (even if it's not the product I linked). Simple as that!!
So you don't have any additional cost as the customer, and yet I get a monetary benefit? Sounds like Amazon Smile, right? It basically is, but instead of 0.5% of your purchase going directly to Wylder Nation Foundation, a MUCH LARGER percentage goes directly to me (and then I donate it to our campaign).
I'm by no means an expert yet, but I have read into the terms and conditions and... DID YOU SEE that earnings report??? I am just SO EXCITED about what kind of massive influence this could have on our fundraising!!!
On my Instagram stories this week (follow me @PleaseSaveDamian if you aren't already!), I asked everyone to send in their questions about the Amazon link system. Here are the FAQ's:
How much of a commission do you get?
It depends on the type of product you buy. Children's toys have a 3% commission and luxury beauty products have a whopping 10% commission!! But even the lowest commission rates are still more than the 0.5% from Amazon Smile!!
Do I need to turn Amazon Smile off now for this to work?
I don't think so!!! I've asked a few people who said they had it turned ON in the app and made a purchase after clicking my link - when I looked it up on my report, I saw their purchases there! (If something changes, I will let you know, but for now it seems to work with both!! YAY!!!)
What happens if I return the item?
Here's how I actually get paid: once a purchase has been SHIPPED, I get the commission earnings put on my "report." My earnings then increase as people buy things and decrease as people return things over the course of 2 months and then I finally get a payout at the end of that period (which is past the return window at that point). So if you return an item, yes that commission is taken from my earnings, but it's not an inconvenience to me at all since the payout doesn't occur until later, after the payment amount is "locked." WE ALL have to return stuff after buying it online, so please please don't think it's a problem for one second. It's not.
What if I already had items in my shopping cart? Do I need to empty it and then click your link before searching for those items again?
From what I have read, my understanding is that once you click my link, whatever you purchase during that session, I get credit for. So no, you should not have to empty and refill your cart for it to count!
I keep forgetting to use your link before purchasing!! Tips for how to remember before I shop?
I love this question, thank you!! I will try to make this easier by posting reminders and new links throughout the week on Instagram stories! This week I debuted a new Instagram story segment called "Shop & Save (Damian!)" where I post a link right in stories! But even when stories expire, I save all the links in a highlight called "Amazon," which is always in my profile. Whenever you need to shop, just go to my profile first and click on any of the links in the "Amazon" highlight! If you shop on a desktop, you can always revert back to this blog post and click any of the links above (I also link to products in our YouTube video descriptions!)
Where is all the campaign money going to again?
All the money we are raising goes to the 501(c)3 nonprofit Wylder Nation Foundation, the only organization that is laser-focused on developing treatment for Damian's specific disease (neurodegenerative Acid Sphingomyelinase Deficiency, aka Niemann-Pick Disease Type A). There are 3 treatments Damian needs to survive: the brain treatment he is on now, the liver treatment he will be starting in August(!), and what I'm calling the "Brain 2.0" treatment.
Brain 2.0 is currently in development, with a bulk of the research and testing being done in a lab (the Center of Molecular Biology) in Spain, directed by a molecular neurobiologist named Lola Ledesma, Ph. D. This treatment has really come a long way and is so close to being ready to prep for human testing - in fact the testing they are doing now isn't even to see what specific molecules are an effective treatment. They have figured that part out, and are currently trying to figure out how to make the treatment more soluble so that when it is consumed by a human (let alone a small child), the drug is sent to where it needs to go and is accessible by the parts of the body that need to access it. The money we are raising is going to the Wylder Nation Foundation, who in turn is funding Dr. Ledesma's research and development (i.e. all the testing that needs to be done as they figure out this solubility question, all the work and follow-up studies that must be done as part of next steps, etc.). There's still a long way to go, but we are certainly making a lot of progress!!! **
I'm excited to really get into this more next week, because the annual Niemann-Pick Disease Conference is happening and of course I will be in virtual attendance! It would be great to be there in person, but we've had a really travel-filled summer already with all the weddings and it's just not feasible this time around. Still, Dr. Ledesma will be talking about her research at the conference and even though I get frequent updates already, I haven't heard information straight from her before and I'm really excited for that.
THANK YOU for helping us take this to the finish line!!!
Can you believe how much we have accomplished in a year?? We've raised $850,000 and counting, we've made the world's only brain treatment (1.0) available for ASMD patients, and we are making REAL steps forward to get Brain 2.0 ready for its debut.
We. ARE. Doing. This.
As of this week, Damian has been on Brain 1.0 for 3 months, and he just started "Phase 2" of the dosing protocol!! Today, Damian and I are doing his monthly assessment and will share that just as soon as I can edit the footage we take today! (Here is the previous report we did, for the first month!) I will share the exciting improvements we've seen in that report, but I want to end this here by reiterating how incredibly grateful I am for all of you and your efforts to help me change my son's fate and so many more who are fighting this rare disease. We are all so so grateful for you!!! Let's keep going!!!
** As a reminder - I am not a doctor, a scientist, nor do I come from a medical background. I do try to understand this rare disease world as accurately and in as much detail as possible, but of course it's possible I can make a mistake. If and when I learn of any misinformation I have given, I will correct it as soon as possible.