It’s time to reconsider the potential of product giving, otherwise known as in-kind donations, as part of a holistic CSR strategy.
I had the pleasure of attending a panel entitled “The Future of In-kind Giving for Nonprofits and Companies”, hosted by The Case Foundation and moderated by Geoff Livingston of Zoetica. The panel achieved a balanced view of product giving opportunities including insights from the nonprofit and corporate sectors.
- Cindy Hallberlin, President and CEO, Good360
- John Oakes, Communications Specialist, H&M
- Barbara Schmidt, Director of Administration, Jubilee Association of Maryland
You can follow the event conversation on Twitter at #Good360
Here are a few nuggets to take away from the event:
Product giving is important for your employment brand.
According to H&M, product giving and demonstrable community impact is very important to employees. Their young employee base is very active in the community and really wants to know what good the company is doing.
Product giving can help with a new market entry.
H&M sees in-kind donations as a way to drive awareness in new markets. Getting H&M apparel in the hands of community members helps build street-level brand presence and give the company a compelling media story to tell around a new store launch.
Product giving should align with overall CSR and business goals.
Cindy Hallberlin of Good360 asserts that any good corporate-nonprofit partnership should benefit both organization’s strategy and mission. Companies looking to give away products should 1) make sure in-kind giving aligns with the overall business and CSR goals and 2) make sure the goods match a specific nonprofit need.
Product giving is not totally free for nonprofits.
In order to take in physical goods, nonprofits need to transport, store and distribute the goods in service of their mission. All of those steps require resources, both in terms of money to pay for transportation and logistics and for staff to handle the goods for program use. In other words, the corporate product donation is just the beginning. Corporations can offer to cover such costs and more and more, nonprofits are looking to individual donors to provide smaller donations that can add up to cover these after product donation costs. Good360 estimates that every $1 of cash contributions from individuals results in $70 of market value in goods getting to the nonprofit beneficiaries.
If your company is interested in learning more about product giving opportunities, Good360 (formerly Gifts In-Kind) is a wonderful resource.