Donate your in-kind donations

Life in 2016 has become quite fast-paced. Globalization and technology have surely upped our standard of living but it came at a dear cost; time. Technology has facilitated communication to save time, but the wide range of options and available information we now have requires curation from our part and that takes additional time. We have cars to travel quicker but too many cars result in traffic jams where we ‘lose’ time. Basically, we have made our lives more complex by creating things that make our lives simpler. That’s one of the paradoxes of progress in our society.

Fortunately, people have not stopped feeling for others despite the constant urge of having to earn money or win this race called life. Do-gooders think of those in need and try to help them in some way or the other. Many of these people have their own dreams to achieve and debts to pay, but they realize how lucky they are to have access to their basic needs. If YOU haven’t helped anyone before, you shouldn’t feel bad or guilty. Money is after all essential for us to function and not all of us can give out money just like that. This is where Easy Charity can help you help others.
Apart from hoarders obviously, we all own some stuff that we don’t use at all and that have no sentimental value whatsoever. These can be books, clothes, electronics, furniture, decorative items or any random item. Easy Charity helps you turn those unused or unwanted possessions into money that you can donate to any charity of your choice.

Here’s how we function:

You simply have to take a picture of the item you want to donate and fill a service donation form online. You tag a monetary value to your item and we will put it on sale for you through online shopping. Once someone has purchased your item, we will send you a pre-paid shipping label for you to send the item to the buyer. The proceeds will go to one of our partner charities that you choose. The charity that receives the proceeds can also get in touch with the donor to thank the latter. Carrying out a donation from the comfort of your home has never been easier. Also, our website is user-friendly and as a buyer, you can come across some very good deals when browsing our online shop.

The idea is pretty straightforward and the concept was materialized as a means to encourage people to give to charity, without having to donate money. We all have some stuff at home that we know could be given away, but don’t bother doing it because of the effort required to find out who to give it to. Easy Charity resolves this problem too! And as the old adage goes: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”; there is someone out there who is ready to buy the stuff you do not use. Easy Charity basically acts as a platform where this transaction can be made and allows you to donate for a noble cause.
So don’t hesitate to give it a shot. You’re only trying to help those in need after all, and you never know when a charity could be of priceless help to you or your loved ones.


Raise money from the public for charities

Every single charity depends on various forms of funding resources, although most count on grants from governments, corporations, organizations and other charities, individual donations provides a large proportion of continual source of their income stream. Only when a charity wins the public’s trust, can one earn voluntary giving from the individuals and communities. And such giving also increases the charity’s credibility and advocacy support among the public in return.
There are many ways to raise money from the public, but how could charities achieve on-going support from the general public as well as create a virtuous circles of donor loyalty? In that regard, this article lists four different fundraising ways that charities can take advantage of based on the various sizes, capacity, or charitable causes of your charity.
·         Face to face fundraising
With the weather warming up, it is time for charities to go out for face-to-face fundraising, which is the most direct way to approach your target populations, sign up supporters and convert them into monthly donors. You can launch different types of face-to-face fundraising methods such as collection from house to house, collection on a street or canvassing in a mall. Before you proceed, you probably need to seek for a permission from the local authority to run your charity collection.
Date and location are essential if you choose to fundraise for your charity on a street or in a mall. You may need a plan B if your first selection of collection site and date do not come out well, or to avoid having canvassers from other charities or non profits at the same spot. Set up in a spot with substantial passing traffic, so you can advertise yourself and reach out to potential donors in a short amount of time.  
You surely should train your volunteers or collectors prior to the charity collection, make sure they understand potential donors and are well informed about your charity. It is also extremely important for them to approach people with a friendly manner and show gratitude for your donors.
In addition to oral communication, it is helpful to use visual communication to deliver messages of your charity. Make sure the collectors dress up in your charity’s logo color, or supply them with graphic materials to promote your charity.
Last but not least, such form of charity collection should not occur too frequently at the exact same location or area, because you don’t want to pitch to the same group of people repeatedly and annoy them.
·         Event fundraising
Although event fundraising could be more risky and costly, fundraising events are widely popular among charities since hosting a great event can raise thousands of money for the charity. There are many types of events from running a marathon, organizing a concert to hosting a dinner gala. You should choose the right forms of events depending on the needs of your charity.
Before throwing an event, it requires lots of time and hard work to plan ahead. Ask yourself these questions: are there any other goals you want to achieve except raising money for your charity? What is the amount of money you want to raise at the event? Set a goal and a budget for the event you are planning, and include all expenses in your budget while taking into account the unexpected costs so that you won’t go over your budget. And don’t forget to prepare alternative dates and locations for your events, in case something goes wrong.
What’s next? Come up with a creative idea to attract and engage attendees for your event. Leverage social network, email letters, online ads and other marketing tools to promote the up-coming event. When planning your promotions, highlight the most exciting aspects of your event, and always offer fresh and exclusive content to your audience. 
Afterwards, you will need a reliable team with good management skills to execute the event. They will manage all event details and volunteers, handle any arising issue, keep everything running smoothly, and remain control over the costs. If you have little experience in organizing an event, you had better seek help from professional event planners.  
·         Online fundraising
Online technologies are shifting the landscape of charity fundraising. Online fundraising becomes a fast growing income source for charities, and it is important for charities to maximize their support by taking advantages of the online fundraising. For small and medium-sized charities with limited resources, online fundraising tools and platforms make it easier for them to raise money from the public.
Websites like CanadaHelps enable charities to provide their donors a convenient and safe donation experience and collect online donations at low administrative costs, all charities need is setting a free profile account and creating a custom donation page to direct their donations through CanadaHelps.
Similarly, JustGiving allows charities to create a custom fundraising page and boost their fundraising by sharing the page on Facebook. If you’re in the UK, your donors can make a donation simply by sending a text message to you. In regards of the increasing usage of mobile device, it is a smart idea to integrate charity fundraising with mobile and smartphones.
One great way to amplify your charity campaign is to turn your supporters into volunteer fundraisers. You can find peer-to-peer fundraising solutions on these online fundraising platforms, which allow your supporters to create a fundraising page to solicit donations for your charity, and empower them to spread the charitable message to their social network.
It normally creates more impact when including offline events as part of the online campaign. For instance, you can encourage your supporters to launch an onsite fundraising event like a charity bike ride and engage their personal network to join the event on Facebook.
·         Product trading
Have you ever considered raising funds through product trading? There are multiple benefits for charities to involve in product trading. Now you can collect donations of goods from your supporters in addition to financial donations. You are able to diversify the income stream by selling goods or service helps. And as long as you are a registered charity, your charity’s trading profits are exempt from tax.
You may remember shopping second-hand goods at a nearby charity thrift store. They usually provide a variety of affordable goods from gently-used clothing to cheap furniture. Charities like The Salvation Army run a charity thrift shop of their own and retail preowned household items from donors. But it could be time-consuming and expensive to set up and operate a charity shop.
The alternative is to cooperate with the third-party retailers such as WebThriftStore and EasyCharity, who make it possible for charities and non-profits to raise funds through product trading. You can register as a charity, list and sell your products on their websites, whilst the sale price will be proceeded to your charities. If you don’t have any products for sell, you can encourage your supporters to sell their products on the sites and select your charity as the beneficiary.
The benefits of working with such online retailers are clear, you don’t need to hold a large amount of inventory on hand or deal with buyers yourself. Beyond that, the EasyCharity website also offers an easy-to-use marketing toolkit for charities, with which you can request tailored promotional material for your online and offline campaign.

Apart from the four fundraising methods mentioned in this article, there are many other creative fundraising techniques for you to discover. No matter what methods you utilize for raising funds, these methods should be used together as a whole instead of being isolated from each other. By integrating different fundraising methods and giving more options for your supporters, you avoid the dependency on one single sources of funding and you are more likely to make a success out of your fundraising campaign.


New donation Method

According to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Canada has over 170,000 charitable and non-profit organizations, and among them about 86,000 are registered charities. In 2005, Canada’s charitable and nonprofit sector was reported to be the 2nd largest in the world (The Netherlands is the 1st; the United States is the 5th). Although the U.S. has more nonprofit organizations, Canadian nonprofit and voluntary organizations employ 12% of the country's economically active population, compared with 9.8% of U.S.

By comparing Canadian five top charities( which includes World Vision Canada,  Canada Cancer Society, Salvation Army, Canadian Red Cross, and Heart and Stoke Foundation of Canada), we found that the main funding source for most charitable organizations are charitable donations and government funding. Donation methods include signing for monthly or one time donation online (through credit card payment). Additionally, some of them also provide mail and telephone donation options. Holding fundraising events is another important method to raise money. Charitable organizations hold various events and raise funds primarily by charging registration fees and collecting onsite donation. Holding a fundraising event not only increases a charity’s public awareness but also creates cash inflow. Other fundraising methods include providing training courses, selling lottery and getting corporate sponsorship. In the following section, we will introduce the new fundraising methods used by EasyCharity and analyze its advantages over other its peers.

Different from traditional non-profit organizations, Easy Charity Service Org.'s operating model is mainly developed based on on-line operation with its own features. First of all, EasyCharity's cash inflows are mainly generated from online second-hand goods donation and trading. Individuals or namely donors could donate and list their unwanted household goods on its website with a desirable price. Not until the listed goods is purchased by a customer does the donation count to be made and could be sent to the beneficiary organizations. By such way, EasyCharity provide a broader donation range to the public instead of  solely acceptance for financial donation. Also, since it is an online trading, the whole trading procedure would be more flexible and cost efficiency.

Secondly, Easy Charity also offer the intangible donation option to the public of their choice. In addition to offering traditional volunteering opportunities provided by various organizations, EasyCharity also gives people a chance to donate their skills or time online and to find a matching customer or contractor to pay for such donations. The service donation could be any service or skills you could offer.  For example, a piano player could donate one hour piano performance online for those in need. After the service delivered based on both sides' agreed time and location, the money paid by the customer will be proceeded to service provider assigned charity.

Moreover, EasyCharity also establishes a charity portal website called charity alliance with all of the registered charities listed on it. The website provides a free platform for both charities’ fundraising activities and donors’ donation activities. Through concise classification, visitors searching on the site could easily find information about their desirable charities by key word searching such as by searching charity activities or names. Its charity portal website requires no members fee for both sides and all the donations either cash or gifts will eventually be transferred to the designated charities. In addition, to ensure the transparency of the whole donation and transferring process, donors could track the record of their every transaction. With regard to EasyCharity, providing such platform and partnering with other charities, partners and stakeholders was seen as beneficial since it is a better way of making the voice of a startup nonprofit heard. For instance, signing a linkage agreement with famous charities would increase Easy Charity’s public awareness and presence.  And for the public, the charity alliance model provides them with general information about nonprofit sector and thus enable people know more about the industry.

To sum up , EasyCharity makes up the deficiency of current nonprofit industry by giving new definitions to donation: donations can be everything that is useful to others. With more options, increasingly more people could join donors' team. Ultimately, the donation from the whole society would be increased and the bond between people and charitable organizations will be enhanced.  And also, people will get used to donate and let such giving activities become a part of their lives.

How to give smartly?

Canadians are very generous when it comes to charitable giving. According to the article of Charitable Giving by Canadians, 94% of Canadians have made some types of donations to charitable and non-profit organizations in 2010, 86% have donated goods and food while 84% have made financial donations. However, There are more than 85,600 registered charities in Canada, how could you decide which charity to give? For those who are interested in making a charitable donation, this article provides step-by-step guidance and advices for new starters.

·         Investigate before your donation

If you don’t know where to start for your donation journey, the very first thing you should do is to find a charitable cause you have the most compassion for. Ask yourself if you have a special interest in certain social or environmental issues like addressing poverty and stopping climate changes. Meanwhile reflecting on your personal life experiences will help you decide which cause to give, as your particular experience may connect you to a certain group of people in need. In fact, as mentioned by the same article, feeling compassion towards people in need is the main reason for making a financial donation.

Secondly, do a basic research of the charities related to causes you personally believe in. Canada Revenue Agency provides charities listings for you to search, you could also utilize other third party independent websites like Charity Intelligence Canada which offers rich database and gives external evaluations and free ratings about charities.

If you have some interest in one charity, go to its official website to discover more information including its mission statement, organization value and carrying-on projects. If you are browsing a website from a Canadian registered charity, you should be able to view its financial statement and annual report, which shows how much of their income went to administrative costs, whereas how much money were used to support its charitable goals. You could have better knowledge of its program efficiency and financial transparency by digging into those documents.

Another information source shouldn’t be neglected is the social media channels. Joining in the ongoing conversations on these organizations' social media, you will be able to understand their charity value, engage in their giving community, and find people who share the same passion. You could also sign up for their newsletter for their latest news and events.

·         Find new ways to give

Explore more donation options apart from financial donation, such as donating tangible goods to a charity store. If you want to donate unwanted household goods, Charity thrift stores like Goodwills are a good choice. As mentioned previously, not all donated goods are eligible for tax deduction. Usually the thrift store will issue a tax receipt based on the fair market value of your item. Ensure your donated goods are in good condition, and if you donate useless items, the charities won’t be able to benefit from your donations and such item will take extra resource to sort and discard them.

Another option is selling your stuff on charity stores online. Websites like Easy Charity facilitates people to sell their unwanted products for good causes. By registering on its site, you can list all kinds of goods for sale and select certain charities to benefit from the sale. However, they do set a base donation amount and they prefer high value goods. Also you won’t be able to claim a tax deduction until your product has been purchased and the donation dollars has proceeded to the charities. What's more, you could even donate a vehicle via Donate a Car, whom helps you gift the charities you love by handling the car for you.

Last but not least, intangible donation such as donating your time or skills can also benefit the cause you care about. One simple way is to volunteer in the charitable events you like. By joining such events and being actively involving with charities, you can enlarge your network, open up your mind and get a sense of achievement.  You could even donate your hours or talents on fundraising sites like Easy Charity. For instance, Easy Charity allows teachers to donate their teaching hours online, service receivers pay for such service and all revenues generated from the trade proceed to the charity selected by the service donor.

·         Get Tax deduction

Although what ultimately motivates donors is the compassion towards people in need or the charitable causes they believe in, the incentive of getting tax deduction should not be overlooked. According to the article of Charitable Giving by Canadians, income tax credit is considered important by 23% of people.

To claim a tax credit or tax deduction, you need the donation receipt for your donation to a registered charity. Only a registered charity can issue a tax deduction receipt, the receipt will include the charity’s Canada Revenue Agency registration number. Therefore you should make sure the charity has a valid charity registration number or confirm its register status at CIC. Not all types of donations qualify for charitable tax credit, volunteering time or skills is not eligible for tax deduction, neither are donations provided in exchanged for goods, tickets, service or other advantages.

A registered charity is not obligated to issue a tax receipt for your donation, some charities may require a minimum amount of donation for the tax issue. Consult the charity itself about its tax deduction criteria before donating.

·         Become a sustainable giver

Being a sustainable giver to the charity will improve the long-term sustainability of their work. For example, making monthly donations and giving a small amount each time will create sustainable fundraising flows for charities. Similarly, charity stores need regular donation of good quality goods to have enough items at stock. With online charity store, all you need is the frequent updates of your listing items, which maintains a virtual inventory and generates more clicks for the online store.

Another approach is developing advocacy on social media for the charity you support. Many charities offer social media share buttons on their site. By sharing charity pages to your social network, you help them to increase their exposure and reach new audience on social media.

You could even start a fundraising event to support your charity on social media. When creating a fundraising page, it is important to create a sharable call-to-action post to spread your message. Don’t forget share your own story in supporting the charity, and you might want to talk about how your experiences inspired your charity contribution and how you become part of the charity community.

You want to make a difference by donating to a good cause, but there is no need to waste your money and time on an inefficient charity who fails to create any impact. Think twice and do your research before donating to a charity. Make the most of the donation by being a smart and effective giver, so you can maximize your charitable contribution whist benefit the charity you like.