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Goodwill and Roadie partner to make app-based donations a reality

Goodwill is collaborating with a delivery network to drive up donations during the next few months through a platform that runs on an easy-to-use application.

During this promotion sponsored by Goodwill, Roadie—an “on-the-way delivery network”—will pick up any unwanted items and take them to the nearest Goodwill donation center through February 28. The app works by crowdsourcing transportation of goods much in the same way that apps like Uber do with personal transportation, a move that is incredibly on brand for a company as invested in the notion of community as Goodwill.

“Many nonprofits, like the Red Cross, have leveraged mobile and digital to further their mission,” said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis and The Connected Marketer Institute. “They have created extremely effective mobile programs to engage their constituents and donors, especially for fundraising.

“Goodwill, however, is doing something unique here,” he said. “It is leveraging the on-demand service economy, which is not possible without mobile, to reduce friction and bring their mission to the door step of their contributors.

“They are also expanding their reach through their partnership with Roadie, who in turn is providing and incentive to its community to participate and support Goodwill. This is a perfect win-win-win-win (Goodwill customer & employees-Goodwill-Roadie-Donor) situation.”

Goodwill and Roadie
It is not clear yet whether the partnership is truly a limited-time offer to boost donations in the coming months—which, according to Jim Gibbons, president of Goodwill International, is “a time when donations are traditionally down for Goodwill” despite altruism purportedly being a priority in January—or a pilot for something more long term.

Roadie works connects people who have stuff to send with drivers already headed in the right direction. By tapping into unused space in passenger vehicles already on the road, the app-based community gives users a more flexible, greener, and cost-effective way to ship locally and nationally.

First time Roadie users who donate items to Goodwill through the app or website will receive a $20 discount on the pickup and delivery fee using the promo code GOODWILL. Similarly, Goodwill shoppers who wish to use Roadie for the first time to deliver purchases to their home or office can also receive the discount.

As with all items donated to local Goodwill organizations, items donated through the Roadie partnership will be sold in Goodwill stores to help fund job and skills training, both in person and online, employment placement services and other community-based programs, such as financial education and mentoring. Donations made at any time of the year are tax deductible and receipts for items shipped through the Roadie partnership will be provided by request.

Goodwill cannot accept certain items, including televisions, mattresses, cribs and other items due to the high cost of disposal and stringent government regulations.

A complete list of acceptable items is available on the Roadie app website for easy reference. Donors can also check with their local Goodwill organizations.

App-based giving
Unfortunately, altruism has been one of the last arenas to take up the mobile platform in full. Nonprofits especially have been slow on the draw, but large companies, especially social media companies and apps, have taken on some of the burden, applying some of the mobile tactics that have led them to success to charitable endeavors.

Airbnb’s latest social campaign invited consumers to use the #WithRefugees hashtag and donate to refugee relief efforts through its application and mobile site (see story).

And Facebook and PayPal also rolled out new programs that make it easier for on-the-go millennials to donate to a charity (see story).

“This type of program is an ideal example of corporate social responsibility marketing, it is the past, present and future of both nonprofit and for profit marketing,” Mr. Becker said. “Society works best when industry players support and work together and align commercial and social causes.”