How Donated Inventory Changes Lives
The impact of donating excess inventory goes far beyond the environmental benefits, tax credits and storage savings. A product that might be taking up space and collecting dust in a company warehouse can become a lifeline for someone else.
One of the greatest losses someone experiencing homelessness can go through is the loss of a felt sense of dignity – and it’s hard to recover. When approached in the wrong way, even the most well-intentioned gifts can make a person feel less-than. One way to help restore the sense of dignity for people who have experienced homelessness is by equipping them with agency – the ability to make a choice rather than have to simply accept what they’re given.
WIN has been able to facilitate this in a few ways. WIN regularly receives enough donations of work boots and shoes that it has become a go-to for employment programs helping people rebuild their lives. WIN partners with the nonprofit member organization to allow each person in the program to bring a voucher into the warehouse and “shop” for their own shoes so they can find a pair that fits and suits their needs. It’s a much more dignifying experience than being handed shoes that aren’t quite your size or what you need.
Through WIN, people exiting homelessness are also able to receive high-end cookware for their new living space. Not only do these pots and pans serve a practical purpose, they restore a sense of home and remind the recipient that they are more than worthy of receiving and using the best quality products.
Another way donated inventory helps restore dignity is through WIN’s Operation Toy Deploy initiative, which supplies toys for member organizations who offer Christmas “shopping” events for the families they serve. Parents are then able to choose from a wide variety of gifts, rather than just being given generic toys for certain ages or genders. While the items themselves are certainly appreciated, giving people the opportunity to “shop” and choose for their children is an act of restoring dignity.
Putting the Impossible Within Reach
At times, donated inventory provides nonprofits with resources they had never anticipated would be possible. One of WIN’s nonprofit members creates products using reclaimed wood and hardware. A 30,000-pound heavy-duty drill press may seem like a donation with limited use, but when WIN received it, we knew exactly who to talk to. The nonprofit’s leaders said they never expected to be able to afford equipment this high quality – it wasn’t even on their radar.
Another donation was put to great use in an unexpected way when a member organization, the Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue, was faced with a potential influx of more than 200 additional guinea pigs they needed to care for. They had converted former horse stables to shelter them, but the outdoor LA heat was too much for the animals. Surprisingly, WIN had a solution: giant evaporative coolers. These devices are similar to misting fans but on a much bigger level. They were perfect for the space and allowed the rescue to care for the animals, which would otherwise not have been possible.
There are many benefits to donating excess inventory. Not only are you keeping items out of landfills, getting tax benefits and regaining your storage space – you’re changing the lives of real people every day. To donate your inventory, fill out the form here. If you’re interested in becoming a nonprofit member, join here.