For most people, shopping at a giant retail chain now comes with a high level of expectation. People want their favorite products on the shelves now, in adequate quantities. Rarely does one ever stop to ponder just how the most successful retail and grocery chains move such a large amount of varied product so quickly. The logistical processes involved are so fine-tuned and fast that the systems themselves bear admiration. What if those logistical success strategies worked elsewhere?
Nonprofit organizations the world over sometimes struggle getting provisions to those who need it most for a myriad of reasons; not enough donations, not enough people, slow legal channels. The list could presumably stretch on with no end. One nonprofit group has already solved the problem by employing much the same techniques retailers use to rocket products from the warehouses to the store shelves, and they’re doing it with the help and cooperation of private enterprise.
Good360, formerly Gifts In Kind, began in 1983 by accepting a donation of office supplies worth over $11 million from the company 3M and has never looked back. The nonprofit accepts corporate donations like this from a multitude of businesses who need to clean up their balance sheets by unloading unsold assets and backed up inventory. Transferring such donations to Good360, those companies also build a reputation for corporate philanthropy. Good360 then distributes these goods to a network of charities and other nonprofit groups from their own warehouses. Donations get to where they are most needed even faster. The added bonus is also a boon to the environment because the practice doesn’t involve landfills whatsoever.
Continually highly ranked by Forbes as an efficient charity, Good360 works with many top corporations. Most recently, as of October 2012, they were ranked 29 out of 100 charities by the publication. Good360 depends on $306 million in private support, while generating $311 million in total revenue, giving 99 percent of that to charity. They’re totally dependent on their donors and are 100 percent effective in fundraising.
According to Good360’s website, the firm works only on 1.8 percent of the total value of products donated, which is astounding considering that they’re able to expedite it to charities almost as fast as new products are delivered to stores. The process is so environmentally conscious and efficient that employees from larger, for-profit firms are allowed to learn from Good360.
In the last 14 years they’ve grown exponentially, forging corporate working relationships with well over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies. They’ve gone to great lengths to increase corporate philanthropy and facilitate international seminars on it. Since 2009, Good360 has taken another technological step forward by joining forces with the American Trucking Association so that trucking organizations can donate transportation to aid shipping in the name of charity. Strategically, the move is brilliant because it strengthens an already strong, logistical network and has forged new working relationships.
In July 2013, Good360 named Chris Blake their new Executive Vice President (EVP). He was the former President of K.I.D.S., Kids in Distressed Situations, another nonprofit. He brings a career of expertise of successful fundraising in the nonprofit sector that meshes perfectly with Good360. Blake was elemental in fostering working relationships between community groups and major companies for K.I.D.S. This new hire increases not only business and operational knowledge but leadership capacity as well.
Good360 has done nothing but grow and improve since its inception. The innovative strides it has made are undeniable. Nothing less than success can be expected of their organization when faced with high demand for products globally. Good360 is a great example of what can be achieved using strong logistics for giving rather than buying and supports economic prosperity for all involved.
– David Smith