Participating In The Charity Storage Giving Back Program
Self-storage facility owners and managers can show the communities they serve that they care by participating in the Charity Storage Giving Back Program. Charity Storage is the official charity partner of the Self Storage Association and is affiliated with many state associations and industry groups. It is a great way to “Engage for Good” with your neighbors.
Veteran storage professionals, who have a strong commitment to giving back, founded Charity Storage as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. It utilizes existing self-storage resources to raise funds for charities throughout the United States. Charity Storage leverages the popularity of storage auctions and introduces a charity component to existing operations. To date, Charity Storage, along with our facility partners, has raised nearly $500,000 for qualifying organizations, including Kure It Cancer Research and the Self Storage Association Foundation Scholarship Program.
What Is Charity Storage And How Does It Work?
The Charity Storage Giving Back Program allows a storage facility to raise funds for charity through on site or online auctions. Owners and managers designate a Charity Storage Unit within each facility. This does not have to be the same unit each time and you only need to have a unit available when you are collecting donations. The managers collect gently used, abandoned, and donated items from current tenants, community members, and local businesses. Donors receive a charitable donation receipt provided by Charity Storage. The contents of the Charity Storage Unit are then auctioned off, either on site or online.
How To Make Charity Storage Auctions Successful
- Collect and curate the items that go into the unit. Explain that the goal is to raise as much money for your charity as possible. Do not accept items such as old mattresses or old tires (see below).
- Arrange the unit in an orderly manner. In some cases, staging can be very helpful. It is not a lien unit, so you can go in, clean, and organize it as desired.
- Especially for online auctions, take sharp, detailed, well-composed photos (this can be helpful even for on-site auctions, you may provide a flyer to the auctioneer and bidders). Make sure the featured photo is a clear shot of the open unit or a special item within the unit. If you have time, pull out and take pictures of any especially valuable items.
- Provide a detailed description of items, including brand names and model numbers, if possible.
- Promote, promote, promote – on social media, craigslist, Pennysaver, your website, your charity’s website, local paper, community bulletin boards, and apps like OfferUp or NextDoor. Use your imagination as it can increase bids exponentially! Charity Storage will help you with this.
Once the auction closes, the proceeds are recorded as non-revenue funds on your accounting program and a check is sent to Charity Storage (along with the Auction Sale Form for on-site auctions and online auctions other than those listed on StorageTreasures) for disbursement. Charity Storage distributes the funds quarterly, with checks and letters detailing donations sent to the charities. Letters are also sent to the facilities or corporate offices enumerating donations that were made the previous quarter.
Who benefits from the proceeds of the sale?
- 60 percent of the proceeds benefit a pre-approved charity of the owner’s choosing (we currently have over 220 charities enrolled in the Charity Storage program as beneficiaries).
- 20 percent of the proceeds benefit Kure It Cancer Research.
- 10 percent of the proceeds benefit the Self Storage Association Foundation Scholarship Program.
- 10 percent is retained by Charity Storage to help with administrative costs.
Charity Storage provides a list of pre-approved beneficiaries to select, or you can propose your favorite charity. Kure It Cancer Research funds underfunded cancer research proposals and has raised over $7 million dollars to date. The Self Storage Association Foundation Scholarship Program awards college and higher education scholarships to storage professionals and their family members.
Why Enroll In The Charity Storage Giving Back Program?
In addition to raising funds for charity, there are many additional benefits from participating in the Charity Storage Program.
- Managers and staff will feel more engaged and connected in a business that is giving back to the community.
- Your tenants will see your business in a different light and will become more engaged through this cause marketing effort. Cause marketing is a great way to get additional rentals.
- Your facility will be listed as a Donation Drop-Off Point on the Charity Storage website, increasing foot traffic to your facility as local community members visit your location to donate items.
- It is an amazing opportunity for your managers to make a positive impression on potential customers, and you can bet that the next time they need storage, your facility is going to be the first one they call.
- The charity you select will be grateful for your support, enabling you to connect with them and their constituents in ways not possible otherwise.
- Charity Storage can become the cornerstone of your social marketing campaign. Communications to your tenants and information on your website will no longer be strictly about prices and specials. Instead, you can have more engaging content for your website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds, which in turn will add relevance.
- Your company and facility will become known in your community as an organization with a heart that cares about its neighbors.
- You may put the Charity Storage logo, photos, and video on your website and Facebook page. Do the same with your charity’s logo and encourage your charity to reciprocate.
- Bring your community together by organizing a community event at your facility, asking participants to bring a donation for your Charity Storage Unit in exchange for “free” admission.
- Investigate whether your local media outlets (newspapers, magazines, blogs, TV stations, etc.) would be interested in doing a story about your new charitable collaboration.
What Are Acceptable Donations?
Once the Charity Storage Unit has been chosen, the
managers oversee donations and provide donation receipts for donated items (no
detail or valuation is necessary). Managers verify that the items donated are
in good, gently-used, or like-new condition. Some examples of items that tend
to increase the Charity Storage Unit’s value are:
- Baby items
- Working electronics
- Working appliances
- Automotive parts and equipment
- Office supplies
- Sports equipment
- Household items
- Gardening and home repair
- Entertainment-related items (vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, games)
- Holiday items
- Clean, gently-used clothing
- Outdoors items
Managers ensure that certain prohibited items are
not accepted, including mattresses; pornography; weapons; drugs/paraphernalia; flammable,
hazardous, or toxic materials; tires; perishable food; alcohol or tobacco; and
any items with no value.
The manager then accompanies the donor to the Charity Unit and unlocks it to allow the buyer to place their items into the unit, locking it upon completion.
What Does Charity Storage Provide?
Charity Storage provides overall administrative and accounting infrastructure, as well as marketing and promotion for the program. If desired, Charity Storage will also provide 30-minute teleconference training for your staff.
Charity Storage promotes your facilities through cause and cross marketing via our website and the Charity Storage Connections quarterly newsletter, which reaches over 15,000 storage facilities, operators, and vendors. We also promote your facility, charity of choice, and auctions on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Additionally, we offer an optional marketing kit (at our production and shipping cost of $100 per facility). Marketing kits contain everything you need to be successful with the Giving Back Program. The marketing kits include:
- Large 18-by-24 metal gate sign
- Window, door, or elevator decals
- Counter signs
- Charitable donation receipts
- Charity Storage promotional materials (buttons, pens, wristbands, etc.)
- Complete instructions
How Do I sign up?
Go to www.StorageTreasures.com and “Opt-In” to Charity Storage during the registration process (they generously provide our website and other infrastructure); this does not obligate you to use them for your auctions. However, if you choose to use StorageTreasures.com for your Charity Storage auctions, they will wave the seller’s fee, allow managers to set a minimum bid, and collect 100 percent of the auction sale price, making the process even more streamlined.
You can also call us at (844) 945-3387, email us
visit our website at www.charitystorage.org, or our Facebook page.
Other Ways To Get Involved
Charity Storage provides opportunities for storage companies and vendors to get involved in other ways:
- Angel Sponsor ($10,000-plus financial and in-kind)
- Sustaining Sponsor ($3,000-plus financial and in-kind)
- In-Kind Sponsor
- Charity Storage Ambassador
- Board Member