As a long-time supporter of St. Jude’s Hospital, AutoTrader.com recently closed its 2008 end-of-year fund raising campaign for the hospital, while driving listings to its Web site. The basic idea for the November/December campaign was a request of each advertiser that she or he donate $5 to St.Jude’s Hospital, for which she’d be allowed to upload eight additional photos of the vehicle for sale. More than 8000 sellers did just that, bringing in over $40,000 for the hospital.

What a good way to earn money for a good cause, brand your site and firm as a good neighbor, and perhaps bring in incremental revenue while promoting your own product.

Here are all the details, and some information on how AutoTrader.com has helped St.Jude’s in the past.

UPDATE: We talked by e-mail with an AutoTrader.com spokesperson. Here are the two questions we asked and his response:

Q: Was there site or other promotion that told potential advertisers that now was the time to list their car because they could also give to a good cause? Or did they just find this out when they went to post the listing?

A: Customers found out about the opportunity when they got into the Private Seller area; there wasn’t a specific promotion for this on the site. We did have the house ads for St. Jude running throughout AutoTrader.com, but those were just generic ads with a link back to St. Jude.

Q: Was there any indication that new advertisers and/or more sellers listed during this time period?

A: Again, the answer is no, though really, we weren’t expecting an increase in traffic either.  This was more about being a good corporate citizen than any specific attempt to increase private seller traffic, though we’re sure there was some “good feeling” passed along to those private sellers who participated.

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