For a number of reasons, companies may regularly find themselves with excess product. Often this is because newer product lines made older models obsolete; however, with the onset of COVID-19, more and more excess product is a result of a slowdown in sales and/or an increase in returns. Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that the overhead required for a company to keep these products in their warehouse can be high.

So, what should companies do with this excess product to avoid an increase to their yearly expenses? Use it to give back through World Vision’s Gift in Kind program!

For almost 70 years, World Vision has been working to help communities lift themselves out of poverty for good. The charity operates in nearly 100 countries, including the U.S., and works with individuals, communities, and regional and national governments to provide both long-term assistance and rapid help during crises.

The charity’s mission is to end extreme poverty – and one way it does this is by offering a turnkey solution to the problem faced by so many companies with excess product. World Vision’s gift-in-kind program reduces costs, while achieving corporate social responsibility goals, and providing much-needed resources to people in need.

As part of this solution, World Vision acts across sector lines, coordinating supply chain logistics, connecting corporations with poor communities and streamlining donation deliveries.

When a company has overstock, World Vision can arrange for it to be picked up, processed and distributed to people who need it the most instead of liquidating or destroying the supply. It is a win-win for the corporation and the charity. Here’s how it works:

  1. World Vision’s field relations team communicates with leaders in each country to create a demand plan. The demand plan indicates the needs and capacity in each location.
  2. When a donation comes into World Vision’s distribution center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the charity is able to quickly align the supply with the demand using the demand plan.
  3. From there, the charity develops a shipping plan. All donations are tracked and traced to ensure products are not being misused, sold, traded or lost.

Utilizing its global network and decades of experience, World Vision identifies where the product will be most useful and use its supply chains to get them there. The charity closely monitors the situation and keeps a detailed record of donations to ensure everything is processed reliably.

While giving donations in kind sounds like a profit loss, it can actually be a profitable choice for companies. Donating excess product is more cost-efficient than paying to destroy the product (and it is better for the environment). It also saves money on warehousing, and can result in a significant tax deduction. And since in-kind donations create social impact, sharing about your product donation program can engage your employees and reduce turnover.

According to Forbes, engaged employees are 21% more profitable and advocating for a cause is shown to increase customer purchases and brand loyalty. When employees participate in charity through their workplace, either through monetary gifts or group volunteer opportunities, they feel good about where they work and productivity increases.

That extends to the actions of the company they work at, as well – witnessing their employers’ giving strategy creates a more authentic experience for employees and inspires future giving. So keep in mind: When your company donates through World Vision’s gifts-in-kind program, you are leading by example.

Product donations to nonprofits like World Vision also contribute to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by working to eliminate poverty, promoting responsible production and providing sanitation. The products often get used to provide housing, clean water, school supplies and clothing which further World Vision’s mission and the greater global sustainable development goals.

Impact in action: Small gifts make a big difference
It’s one thing for us to tell you about the impact that corporate donations of overstock items, and another thing for us to show you. Since the start of their gifts-in-kind program, World Vision has distributed over 5,000 freight container loads of product in the developing world! In 2019, 88,422 pallets were shipped to 36 countries; that same year, the charity helped provide access to clean water for 3.3. million people thanks in part to corporate gifting in kind.

Hundreds of U.S.-based companies partner with the charity every year. One of these companies is Kohler, the number one plumbing brand in the U.S., China and India. Kohler and World Vision partnered up to provide safe water for thousands of people in countries like Honduras, the Philippines and Vietnam via the provision of plumbing and filters. In the U.S., thousands of homes in the Navajo Nation are being repaired, renovated and built using materials gifted by different companies, including Kohler.

Kohler introduces new product lines every quarter, making it easy for them to accumulate a surplus in inventory. By coordinating shipments with World Vision, these supplies continue to benefit the company, the charity and the communities they serve. This product lifestyle management allows Kohler to keep value high while also reducing waste. World Vision makes it convenient by identifying where the product is needed and how to get it there. Since 2003, Kohler has donated an estimated $55 million in product through World Vision.

The products that communities in need could use also go beyond what you might normally expect. The value of even a small donation can change people’s lives around the world, for example:

  • In Armenia, in-kind donations of winter coats keep kids in school by giving them a safe way to continue walking to school in the frigid winter months.
  • A village chief in Zambia who travelled long distances to promote health and hygiene cut down travel time by two-thirds through the use of a bike that was gifted in-kind – enabling him to reach more people with life-saving guidance.

Those are just a few of the countless examples of how World Vision’s supply chain logistics can uplift communities and improve the lives of so many. By thinking beyond personal donations alone, you can see how the combined efforts of corporations, nonprofits and individuals can change the world.

Opportunities to give
There are many opportunities to give and spread hope! Here are a couple ways to get started:

  1. Ask yourself: Does your workplace have extra product in stock? You could be surprised what supplies are useful to a poor community, but in particular school supplies, hygiene products, clothing, and household items are always needed. Right now, there is also a high demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). Reach out to World Vision to find out if a community needs your overstock product and have the charity make shipping arrangements! They make it easy with just few simple steps: submit your donor confirmation form, get a response within days and schedule the pick-up.
  2. Make it a team effort and volunteer with your colleagues at a World Vision warehouse, or work together to assemble supply kits to be sent around the world. You can provide items like school supplies and hygiene necessities to families in need.
  3. Are you a corporation? Make a corporate grant or match your employee’s contributions to World Vision. Matching gifts can amplify your employees contributions – they also offer a way to involve them as part of your collective impact through your gifts-in-kind contribution
  4. Give through your workplace and multiply the value of your dollar. Even if you’re not able to donate time or products, donating money as part of your employer’s giving campaign can impact the work being done to distribute goods to those in need. Your donation combined with corporate gifts means that your contribution goes further to make a difference and change the world. Don’t forget to ask if your workplace matches donations!

So remember, if your company’s unsure how to deal with overstock product, don’t toss it – be sustainable and reach out to World Vision to donate it. If you are interested in working with World Vision, or want to create a new or improve an existing workplace giving campaign, contact us for assistance.