Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.
I actually have so many stories in the pipeline for Philanthropy Friday right now that I thought I would take a breather today and share an older post. It also gives me an excuse to share NAEIR’s Teacher’s Program, a great way for teachers to get the school supplies they need without breaking the bank!
NAEIR is in the business of empowering generosity.
The nonprofit gifts-in-kind organization supports communities by collecting merchandise donations from generous American corporations and giving it to non-profits.
NAEIR, which stands for National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources, was founded in 1977 by Norbert C. Smith. Back then, Norbert arranged donations of capital equipment and buildings to vocational schools and non-profit organizations. (You can read more on the history of the company via the website.)
Today, Gary Smith, Norbert’s son, is at the helm. NAEIR’s team mission is to do their best to provide needed materials and supplies to its members. As Gary explained, his team works hard to make sure the more than $100 million NAEIR receives in merchandise each year is spread out amongst its members as equitable as possible.
The process is simple. NAEIR solicits donations from corporations. There are guidelines based on NAEIR’s nonprofit member needs. Once the donation is approved, goods are shipped to NAEIR’s warehouse in Galesburg, IL. Those goods are then offered to nonprofits who belong to NAEIR. There is a charge for membership but, as a member, the goods are free (except for shipping). There is no charge to donating companies.
Donating companies get the tax write off, and the ability to unload excess inventory. While some companies may look to profit off their excess inventory, NAEIR gives them the opportunity to protect themselves from brand devaluation by not allowing their goods to end up in the discount market. Or the landfill, for that matter.
Plus, donors feel good knowing that their products will help nonprofits, schools and churches in the community. Like providing all of the arts and crafts supplies for an elementary school family arts and crafts night or goods and supplies to assist breast cancer patients in emotional healing.
Different membership levels come with varying benefits, including access to NAEIR’s catalogs. There’s actually a pretty neat quiz on their website to help figure out which level is best for your organization.
The trick, of course, is that inventory is always changing. And, certain items, like air conditioners for example, go fast. Gary’s advice to nonprofits who need to make purchases is to take a look at their inventory online and see if NAEIR has what they need first. Then, act on it. “Participation is key.”
I’ve worked in the nonprofit world long enough to know how valuable a service like this can be to a bootstrapped organization. And, NAEIR is a great way for companies to incorporate some social responsibility in their business model.
Take advantage of NAEIR if you’re nonprofit, school or church. They actually want you to.
How do you empower generosity?