The challengeIn a world where we can achieve so much with the click of a button, there are still so many barriers when it comes to donating items to charity shops.
The resultA beautiful, intuitive, hassle free mobile app on two platforms, a nationwide launch, one award, ten charity partners and over £1,000,000 raised in the first year.
The UK dumps 1.37m tonnes of appliances and 1.5 billion tonnes of textiles every year. Whilst donating small items to charity, such as clothes or accessories, is usually no problem, when it comes to larger items, such as a sofa or a fridge, they become trickier to transport. Each year over 800,000 used sofas in the UK are sent to landfill or are recycled.
The physical challenge of transporting large items to charity shops is not the only issue. Finding charity shops is often difficult, knowing when they’re open, whether there’s car parking available or even if they’ll accept the goods your offering.
88% of donors say limited opening hours makes it harder to donate.
Online sites such as eBay and Freecycle are making it easier for people to sell or give away unwanted goods. For charities to survive, it’s important to keep up with technical advancements.
UK charities raised 1.3bn in sales in 2014. Currently, 1 billion items of clothing go to landfill each year. If we could get just 6% of that textile into charity shops, we’d be able to double their total annual income.
80% of adults use a smartphone and so taking inspiration from successful apps such as eBay and Uber, we worked with partners in the charity retail sector and together came up with the idea for Gone for Good. This mobile app, developed for iOS and Android devices, allows people to easily donate their goods to charity.
Our market research showed that fewer young people donate goods to charity because they felt that they had no time or weren’t sure if charities would accept or collect their items. Over 60% of the population thought the app would address those main barriers to donating, with 54% of the UK 18-44 year olds saying they would download the app.
The process is easy: a user downloads the app, takes a photo of the item(s) they’d like to donate, and then chooses a charity. If the chosen charity accepts the donation a van will be sent to collect it.
Theft of goods (e.g. by volunteer drivers) are 4x higher than in private retail. Photographing and registering a donated item will help to reduce theft and wasted, unsuitable donations.
Downloads of the app to date
worth of donated goods to date
on the app store
What we did
- It was important to make the app as straightforward to use as possible. The point is to make donating simple, not more complicated. We ensured that the entire process could take less than a minute to complete.
- We partnered closely with a variety of leading charities to ensure the success of the app. It is now supported by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Debra, Mind, Oxfam, The Salvation Army, and many others.
- It is simple for a charity to accept or reject an item. If the charity accepts the donation, they can arrange a pick-up. If they decline, the user is given the opportunity to choose another charity or have their item picked up and recycled.
Out pilot launch in Manchester saw over 100 unprompted donations. In the first three months of the nationwide launch, there were over £30,000 of donations through the app and thousands of downloads, holding an average five star rating on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
To date, there have been 15,000 downloads and the app has generated £572,000 worth of donated goods.
The app allows you to take pictures of items you want to give away and select the charity you want to donate them to. That charity then comes and picks it up from you to sell it in a local store. Genius.