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Good360 - helping others help others

Helen Kontis of Good360For those not in the know, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) are high end creators of fragrances, skincare, make-up, lipsticks and cosmetics, women’s handbags, leather goods, etc. For Helen Kontis, of Good360, there is a joy – an emotional resonance – in seeing such expensive YSL products being given gratis to pensioners, survivors of Family and Domestic Violence, and refugees.

Good360 receives goods from companies that would otherwise be thrown out into landfill. They get those products into the hands of charities, NGOs, schools and churches to give to people in need. Good360 has operated in Australia for three years and counting, and they are making an impact, helping others – including The Salvation Army –help others. As of 28 February, The Salvation Army, through Good360, has given away more than $2,882,954 worth of goods to our communities.
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Good360 Australian founder Alison Covington, was inspired by the US model. In the ’States, Good360 has given billions of dollars of products to 30,000 charities. Here in Australia, still in its infancy, Good360 Australia has already helped people through 750 charities, giving $20 million worth of clothes, toys, toiletries etc.  Some $8.3 million of that sum was delivered last November alone, in its pre-Christmas programs.

For the Salvos, one stand-out connection was Good360’s provision of 240 pallets of water from the tennis extravaganza Australia Open. It was the first engagement with the Australia Southern Territory.

When e-connect spoke with Helen, she was multitasking, coordinating the delivery of two 40-feet shipping containers of goods for The Salvation Army to distribute; one for Western Australia and one for Northern Territory. Companies donate goods that are excess to requirements, or being discontinued. Good360 sources groups that are able to give those products to people who need them. The emphasis is on the word 'give'. The work goes on.

The conditions that apply for the groups who use Good360 are far from complex. Any charity or NPF registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits (ACNC) are eligible to become a member of Good360. Goods ordered from Good360 cannot be sold, auctioned or used as prizes. Members cannot make a financial profit out of those products. They cannot give them to other groups. The donated goods must stay in Australia and not be shipped off shore.

What the charities can do, and what they have done for the past three years, is get those donated goods into the hands of Australians in need. In schools, prisons, rehabilitation and treatments centres, churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, charity offices across the country, Good360 have helped people get a fresh start, helping to equip and empower them to think positively about their futures.  

Christians, atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus. Australians, and those asylum seekers who are being protected in this country. They have all been the recipients of free goods, courtesy of Good360 and charity groups and NGOs like the Salvos.

‘We are all human, and we are all working towards the same mission,’ Helen says, ‘helping to make a positive impact in our communities.’

Helen shakes her head at the waste that she and her colleagues are trying (and often succeeding) in eliminating. With a corporate background, Helen was used to the realities of tough decision making, but says ‘I had no idea that the charities only got a 5% discount from many chains; there’s so much mark up on products, how comes charities are getting such a little break ?’

Companies donate goods to Good360 to distribute because their products have been discontinued, as ‘end of line’ items, or do not have enough physical space to store the items as new product lines arrive. The idea of ‘goods for the greater good’ makes a lot of sense in that context.

‘We don’t have the personnel to do this distribution, on the scale of need that Australians face,’ Helen explains, ‘but the charities do.’

‘This is ultimately about equality,’ Helen says quietly, her voice warm with passion. ‘When kids are doing it tough, when Mums are trying to recover from Family and Domestic Violence and rebuild their lives, they can still feel a sense of pride in their appearance and enjoy using quality goods that they can’t actually afford.’

As an exercise, Helen goes online and shows me how the system works. Selecting kitchen goods, electronics, toys, kitchenware, clothing, make-up, coming in at a recommended retail price (or fair market value) of almost $10,000, the freight and handling  a charity would be required to pay is a few hundred dollars (depending on the weight of goods and delivery location). The cost ended up being less than 6% of the RRP of the goods they would receive.

That’s the joy of Good360, however, where charities pay a small membership fee and freight, and receive millions of dollars of products to distribute (as previously noted, not to sell, or profit from) through the procurement by Good360 from numerous companies and manufacturers.

‘There’s a sense of empowerment,’ she explains, ‘when this volume of product gets out to people who need it – it’s brand spanking new.’

Salvation Army project coordinator Ann Sathasivam says that Good360 ‘has freed up resources for us. The fact that Salvation Army corps and services can receive these goods to distribute, very cheaply, frees up funds that they can utilise in other ways.

‘It helps us stretch our dollars, benefits our clients, and is a win-win situation for all concerned.’  

A recent example was at an aged care charitable conference in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, where Major Jennifer Cloke was able to give $6,689 worth of products to aged persons and volunteers.  As well as bottled water for delegates, volunteers received headphones, card readers, memory sticks, etc.

The sheer amount of stuff provided, free, came at the total of $13 freight and handling; a figure aided by a $400 freight and handling credit from good 360’s previous Christmas campaign.

To date, 53 Salvation Army expressions, including corps and social expressions, have taken up a membership with Good360 and are making valuable savings.

This is good work. This is Good360 doing what they do; getting quality goods into the hands of those who need them, through the agency of groups such as The Salvation Army.

Good360 are celebrating their third birthday and have an awesome new member offer. You will receive a ‘Do Good’ pack including office supplies and much more, valued up to $275 delivered FREE to your business address if you sign up for a Good360 membership before 31 May, 2018.  Any questions about how a membership could benefit your programs or corps, please call Helen, ph. (02)  8594 3600, or email Helen@good360.org.au

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