Product Donations: How to Get Started with Good360

The business case for making product donations is clear. Along with marking down merchandise, paying to store product, or filling up landfills with unwanted goods, companies have a lot to gain by donating these products through Good360.

Companies that engage in product philanthropy are seen as socially responsible participants in the circular economy. They create goodwill for their brand, helping to attract more customers as well as talented employees. Product donations can also help companies achieve zero waste initiatives, support local communities, cut costs, and increase supply chain efficiencies.

So, how can businesses get started with product donations? Here’s a quick guide to working with us, the worldwide leader in product philanthropy for more than 30 years.

What do I need to know before getting started?

The very first step is to consider who in your company should own this program. Successful initiatives start with an internal champion who has a passion and interest for “doing the right thing” with donated goods.

However, long-term sustainability of product donation programs requires consensus and buy-in from across the company. This includes key stakeholders in Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Resources, Inventory Management, Legal, Finance, Supply Chain, Store Operations, and others depending on your company. Of course, support from leadership in the C-suite is required to ensure the programs are funded, recognized, and communicated throughout the company.

OK, sounds good. How do I sign up?

Once you’ve identified the person or team that should drive your program, the next step is easy — just give us a call at 703–836–2121, send an email donate@good360.org, or log on to the Good360 online portal and register your company and contact information.

Many programs start with an initial one-off donation that serves as a pilot test. This allows the donor, Good360, and the nonprofits to get to know the logistics and set expectations for future donations.

What information do I need to provide on each donation?

For all donations, it is important to know:

  • Description of items
  • Quantity of items
  • How are they packed? Pallets or boxes?
  • Where are they located?
  • What is their Fair Market Value?
  • Who are the best contacts?

Photos and links to actual product always help to set expectations. Good360 then does our best to make a match!

How will I work with Good360?

It starts with a conversation with us about the products you have available and your specific goals for your donation program. It is important to know if you have restrictions on organizations that can receive your products. It is also important to know whether you can ship the items or prefer a direct, local pickup.

Once those facts are collected and understood, Good360 can attempt to identify a matching nonprofit that needs those exact items. We always say we will “try” to make a match. Our success rate is in the high 90 percent range!

What program types do you offer?

Each program works a little differently, but the three main program types are:

  • Retail Store Matching Programs: We facilitate an agreement between the store location and local nonprofit that has an ongoing need for those items.
  • Direct Placement: We match up the best nonprofit fit by need, location, mission, size and other factors.
  • Direct Shipment to the Good360 warehouse: We get the necessary information for each item and get the details loaded into our Good360 online catalog where we can make the product available to the widest set of Good360 partners.

You can run as many simultaneous programs as you believe is appropriate for your company.

What types of products do you take?

We accept new, refurbished or “like new” non-perishable products. Some of our top needs include: technology, apparel, office/school supplies, and personal care products. We can’t accept anything perishable or any items that are used, damaged or broken.

With our Retail Donation Partnership program, we have expanded the accepted donations to include display model and slightly imperfect goods as these items are going directly from a retail location to a nonprofit. However, we primarily focused on providing our nonprofit partners with the best products that fit their most pressing needs.

Do you have a good example to share so I can sell this to my leadership team?

Yes, of course!

Mattel worked with its distribution centers to set up a system for identifying product that can’t be sold and taking up valuable storage space. This allows the company to efficiently flag items for donation and have them set aside for shipping to our warehouse. We make the donation available to our nonprofit network through our online marketplace. This allows the greatest potential impact. It also allows Mattel to easily say “yes” to requests for donations by directing them to our site. Nonprofit recipients must meet an established set of eligibility requirements to have items shipped to them.

IKEA distribution centers also identify out of inventory product, but work with Good360 to find local nonprofit partners who can pick up donated items directly from their locations. This increases local community outreach and eliminates the cost of shipping on both sides of the donation. Good360 provides tracking and reporting throughout the process.

Bed Bath and Beyond worked with Good360 to match local nonprofit partners to each of their retail store locations. Consumer returns are set aside in the retail location for nonprofit partners to pick up on a regular agreed-upon schedule. Expectations and commitments are clearly determined and agreed upon to ensure a smooth annual partnership.

JPMorgan Chase’s refurbished technology program has helped hundreds of under-resourced nonprofits bridge the digital divide by getting access to thousands of high-quality laptops. JPMorgan was able to recycle the valuable technology and benefit of thousands of people, while avoiding costly or wasteful alternatives — and got some tax deductions to boot. Read the case study here.

Where can I find more information on Good360 and the impact you’re making?

Glad you asked! You should check out our blog and impact stories to learn how we’re changing the face of philanthropy by creating a Circle of Good that allows companies and nonprofits to work together to do more social good together through product giving. We’re excited to work with you to make this happen at your company.

Originally published at good360.org on July 18, 2017.

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