First off, I want to make a plug for Good Magazine. Great content, wonderful community, and the best part is that when you subscribe 100% of your money goes to one of 12 non-profits (Kiva just recently became an option!). Plus, you’ve gotta love their tag-line: A magazine for people that give a damn.
The reason for this post is to highlight a section they have called “Steal This Idea”, which I love. Folks with ideas for something / anything that’ll somehow make the world a better place can write in with those ideas, and then the editors pick the ones they like and profile one per issue. What I wish they’d do different is make it more of a democratic process and allow readers to vote on the ideas. An open flow of innovation between Good Magazine’s self-selected readership could spark some really big things, and help GOOD ideas become GREAT ideas. Yeah? You with me?
Oh fine…I’ll be honest. I submitted an idea and it didn’t make the cut : (
Luckily I have a blog and can self-publish! : ) Ready? Here it is:
Everyone has stuff lying around they want to sell but don’t have time to, right? So this is what I propose: A win-win-win for (1) people with stuff they want to get rid of, (2) the Salvation Army, and (3) local non-profits.
Step 1: Someone with stuff he/she wants to get rid of takes 5 minutes to list what he/she has and the condition that it’s all in on a simple website, and indicate which of the participating local non-profits he/she wants to benefit (minimum $100 value per item).
Step 2: The Salvation Army comes by and picks up the stuff.
Step 3: While the stuff is in the Salvation Army warehouse, the non-profit specified lists the items on eBay and tries to sell it.
If the stuff sells, the Salvation Army sends the goods out, the non-profit gets the proceeds of the sale, and the person gets a tax write-off for the selling price of the goods. If the stuff doesn’t sell, the Salvation Army gets the stuff and the person gets a much smaller, but still better than zero, tax write off. Yes, I know the Salvation Army has some very particular beliefs which I don’t necessarily agree with, but my understanding is they do a good job of taking donated items and giving them to those in need, and I’ll bet a lot of people hold on to higher-value stuff — and this might incentivize them to move those items as well. Ideally the stuff sells and local non-profits have a new, high-value revenue stream : )
I (sorta) tried to start this back in 2003, but (very) quickly realized it was more work that I was willing to do. Sad, I know. Have an idea you’re not going to make happen, and don’t have a blog to publish it so you can show off how clever you (think you) are? Send ’em into Good: stealthisidea[at]goodmagazine.com