When you’re collecting piles of items for different charities but you don’t have a warehouse, where do you put them?

How do you make sure they’re good enough quality?

This is the story of how GIVIT’s unique Virtual Warehouse was created from my kitchen table…

When I started GIVIT I remember I only had a few charities requesting items, and I would carefully put their requests on the GIVIT website. It was so exciting in the beginning!

I was so thrilled that charities were requesting items, and that people were seeing these requests and then wanting to give them exactly what they needed. I was very fulfilled as a matchmaker of THINGS!

What surprised me though, was that there were a growing number of people who really wanted to donate a large amount of items, which charities hadn’t specifically asked for.

I was a militant giver, so I only wanted people to donate the items charities actually needed – nothing more – but how could I let all these beautiful items go?

There were donors relocating homes and offering such incredible items.

As the generosity flooded in, I started manually emailing my 15 or so registered charities the list of amazing donations on offer, and they loved it. My system was easy – it was first in best dressed!

I enjoyed the process very much but sometimes if it was a large donation (for example 10 boxes of clothing or 50 pairs of joggers), a charity might need a few of these items but not all.

Often, they wanted to split the donation with another charity. I recall one large donation of toys which was split between several charities and there would have been 20 emails sorting it all out!

I started spending a lot of my time emailing charities about the donations people had generously offered, and then sorting out multiple bulk donations with them. This was very time intensive and as I became more and more absorbed… I started to neglect the house work a little.

My husband Glen was frustrated that GIVIT was no longer automated (and the growing pile of laundry). You see, I originally created GIVIT to automatically match donations to requests. We are online matchmakers!

On the website there was a page of items requested by charities. When a donor clicked on a request they could fill out their details and offer to pledge the item needed. Then, an email was automatically sent exchanging contact details between the donor and the charity. The two then agree on a delivery option between themselves. Perfect!

But now, I wanted to let charities know everything else donors were trying to give. And I was spending hours emailing them a list of items available, then more and more hours manually matching donations.

My husband is a successful real-estate agent, and loves selling warehouses, so when we sat down together and thought about how to solve this issue – we thought about creating a “virtual warehouse”.

It would be a warehouse where people can go to the GIVIT website, fill in details about the item they want to give, click ‘submit’, and then those details are available for all charities to see.You wouldn’t need to go to a physical warehouse to see what’s there, and you wouldn’t need volunteers sorting through mountains of unwanted donations.

It means charities can login through the GIVIT website and see every single donated item available in their local area – a free online shopping list! They are also sent an (automatic!) email each week telling them what items have been offered in their area.

Items are uploaded with photos too, so that charities have a chance to judge the quality of a donation before they receive it.

Now, honestly the name Virtual Warehouse still confuses people. I might change the wording one day. But name aside, our Virtual Warehouse works brilliantly – with charities logging in every single day, seeing the list of donated items available in their local area and then gratefully accepting those donations.

The GIVIT Virtual Warehouse has now won The Australian National Innovation Award… and it was all because Glen had no clean clothes to wear!

Juliette x

The Independent Distribution Committee established to distribute funds from GIVIT’s Gold Coast Appeal has made its final release of funds to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy at Dreamworld last year.

In total $590,041.94 has been received by the Appeal with the final release by the Independent Distribution Committee on behalf of the appeal made last week.

Committee chairwoman Catherine O’Sullivan said the funds have been released on the best available advice from frontline service providers to ensure the needs of those directly impacted by the tragedy have been met.

“We’ve been told repeatedly by donors to the appeal that they wanted to make sure the families who lost loved ones, particularly those with children left behind, should be the absolute priority when it came to distributing these funds,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

“That’s what we’ve done,” she said, “We’ve made sure every cent has gone to these families on behalf of those who donated in the hope that we can at least make sure their immediate and emergent needs have been taken care of.”

CEO and Founder of GIVIT, Juliette Wright, praised the speed and integrity of the independent committee.

“This locally-led committee has acted quickly to ensure the needs of the families have been met, including in the run up to Christmas, which is an incredibly difficult time after an incident such as this,” said Mrs Wright.

“The outpouring of generosity from the Australian public and from the business community of the Gold Coast in particular to this appeal has been absolutely heart-warming and shows what a trusted donation platform GIVIT is after disasters and emergencies.”

“I want to thank everyone on the committee, as well as everyone who donated funds to this appeal, for showing once again how Australians come together to help one-another after tragedy strikes.”

The GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal has now closed with all funds received distributed.

Background

GIVIT was approached by the City of Gold Coast to be the platform for the appeal after an interagency meeting including Queensland Health and Red Cross.
Five people make up the Independent Distribution Committee:
• Catherine O’Sullivan, Pro Vice Chancellor at Bond University
• Brooke Denholder, Community Services at the City of Gold Coast
• Leisa Bourne, Director of Australian Red Cross in Queensland
• Rob Borbidge, Former Queensland Premier
• Greg Goebel, Chairman of the Board at GIVIT

Catherine O’Sullivan is the chair and sole spokesperson on behalf of the Independent Distribution Committee. The Committee has distributed 100% of the funds received by the GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy at Dreamworld. The $590,041.94 received by the GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal and distributed by the Independent Distribution Committee includes donations via Red Cross of $167,500 from Ardent Leisure’s CEO and of $157,225 from Dreamworld’s reopening weekend. GIVIT has not charged any administration fee or other costs relating to funds received through its Gold Coast Appeal.

As a mum of two I have been busy preparing two kids for school, but I can only imagine how well teachers must prepare to start a new school year… especially as they prepare for 30 kids… and for life ahead!

One school in Cherbourg Queensland, go above and beyond and also teach their kids to cook. They are setting up a kitchen in the school to engage the students in food preparation and life skills. But unfortunately over summer, there was a fire in the classrooms and many items destroyed.

It moves me to swift action when I hear about a school affected by a fire, particularly when they are trying to get everything together for a smooth start to the year. The state school’s classroom was destroyed and claimed all the items the classroom teacher had for their students. They lost back to school supplies such as; school hats, whiteboard markers , school shoes, storage containers and more. Go to the website for the complete list – the items are IN RED! I have never seen red on the GIVIT website before… we really need your support!

If you have anything for their kitchen it would be incredible too, they need a toaster, kettle, cutlery, mixing bowls, shredder, a sandwich pressall the cooking items you can think of.

Find the full list on the website or donate cash and we’ll buy it as locally as possible – 100% of money received will be spent on the donation.

Thank you!
Jx