Thursday, February 2, 2012

In-Kind Donating Made Easy in a Big City

There is a hot new charity in town and it is zealously good! makes it easier, faster, and more meaningful to donate items to local charities. 

I became a fan of Zealous Good upon discovering the organization via Twitter.   After starting my job at Groupon as a G-Team Coordinator, I received a tweet from the Founder, Brittany Graunke saying how big of a fan she was of the G-Team.  (This is why I love Twitter so much.  Twitter is the gateway to engaging and meeting some of the most influential, creative and ambitious leaders throughout the world).    Having a fan like Brittany of the work the G-Team does, really inspired me and I was eager to get to know more about Brittany and her organization.  

Brittany Graunke

After a few months of getting to know Brittany through Twitter, I wanted to meet her in person to learn more about Zealous Good and see how Groupon and her organization could potentially partner together.  Brittany was the exact same way in person as she is on the web.  Kind, sweet, brilliant, ambitious- the whole package.   Her ideas inspired me and I already cannot wait to help her in any way I can to make Zealous Good unstoppable.

So what is Zealous Good?   In short, Zealous Good connects people with excess goods to local charities in need.  By matching specific donations to specific needs, Zealous Good reduces the cost and effort of getting goods to charities.

Zealous Good is a Chicago based social enterprise.  They make the donation process so easy and meaningful by helping people who want to donate goods and/or services and match them with specific charities in need of their donations.   It is ingenious and fantastic!   Zealous Good's strategy is to harness the power of the internet to change the way people donate in-kind goods for the better.   Since it's founding in March of 2011, Zealous Good has matched over $100,000 of goods and services to over 35 local Chicago charities.

I know a lot of individuals have items that they aren't sure where to donate them.   When you move is a perfect example of when you discover items that you A. no longer use or B. won't have a place for at your next place.  

Prior to moving into my new apartment this Fall, I no longer needed my sofa and wanted to donate it to charity.   The only place I knew of at the time was the White Elephant Resale Shop in Lincoln Park, that resells donated in-kind items and all the proceeds of sales directly benefit Children's Memorial Hospital.   Nothing beats the feeling of doing something good for others.   On top of the great feeling donating gives you, White Elephant will even send a pick-up truck to your home to pick up your donated item(s).    Donating in-kind items could not be easier than that.   You also can get a tax receipt every time you donate.

Another resale shop in Chicago is The Brown Elephant Resale Shop.   Except all proceeds from sold items go to the Howard Brown Health Center.

We all have items that we hold onto but really don't have a need for.   Instead of holding onto those items, give them another life by donating them to charity.   Zealous Good and the Elephant Resale stores have taken in-kind donating to a whole new level.

Chicago is not the only city out there that is doing this.  I challenge you to look for organizations that offer services like these.    Almost every charity out there has a "wish list" of items they need and getting funding to purchase these items can be extremely tough.  That is why Zealous Good has helped be the matchmaker for local charities here in Chicago.   My dream for Zealous Good is that they will be able to expand to other cities throughout the U.S. so they can help be the matchmaker for charities everywhere!

After doing a quick research, I found a number of organizations in the U.S. that are doing this.

Children's Hospital Oakland- Oakland CA 
San Francisco- SPCA
American Red Cross Boston
United Way of Buffalo NY- lists organizations throughout the area of items each charity needs
Caritas of Austin- Austin Texas

So I challenge you to find local charities in your community that are in need of household items and clothing.   Even if you don't have any items right now, to have that knowledge will allow you to tell others who do have items they aren't sure what to do with.    I try to tell people about Zealous Good and the Elephant resale shops every chance I get because I know that there will always be a need for in-kind donations.

" Philanthropy is giving something of yourself to others in need."  - Belinda Alston

1 comment:

  1. Jessica,

    Thanks so much for your support and spreading the Zealous Good word! I so appreciate having a great supporter like you!!!