Gifts in Kind International takes the hassle out of donating

Dec. 21, 2004

Gifts In Kind International, the largest product donation charity in the U.S., accepts just about anything from razors, sneakers, and scouring pads to Post-it Notes, telephones, and computers. Ninety-five percent of the products it receives are still in the manufacturers packaging. The Alexandria, Va., charity helps companies develop a philanthropic strategy, distribute goods, handle inquiries, and earn a tax write-off. Donations are directed to schools and other charities in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. Companies can request a particular type of recipient, such as shelters for battered women. In 1983 3M gave $4 million worth of office equipment to the United Way of America. United Way then spun off its product donation unit into Gifts in Kind, which today works with a range of manufacturers. The nonprofit group, for example, helps Gillette Co. -- which donates $2 million to $7 million in grooming supplies annually -- reduce the amount of time employees spend disbursing contributions by answering many of the requests for donations. Gifts In Kinds donations have increased to $288 million in 1997 from $45 million in 1992. Product donations as a portion of total giving have grown in recent years. In 1997 3M, for example, gave away more than half of its $35 million contributions in products. According to a Conference Board report noncash donations reached 25% of all contributions in 1996.

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