Founded by industry veterans Lance Watkins of Storage Outlet and Barry Hoeven of Kure It, Charity Storage is a nonprofit organization that uses self-storage auctions as a platform to raise money for charities. Charity Storage launched its beta site in February, and already has 200 self-storage facilities on board.
Charity Storage has an economical business model that takes advantage of the self-storage industry’s existing infrastructure. It works like this: Participating facilities designate a vacant storage unit as a Charity Unit. Then tenants, locals, and businesses are encouraged to donate items to fill the unit. Much like donating to Goodwill, contributors receive a tax-deductible receipt for their donations. When the storage facility holds its next public auction, it sells the Charity Unit. All proceeds from this sale go to various charitable organizations.
Charity Storage Director Alison Hahn has good reason to be excited about the business. Storage facilities are signing up, and auctions enable a broad distribution of charitable funds— 10% of net proceeds go to the Self Storage Association Scholarship program, 30% go to Kure It Cancer Research, and the remaining 60% goes to a charity of the storage facility’s own choice. Facilities can choose from the nonprofits on Charity Storage’s list, or they can donate to a local organization. Thus, benefits are often realized on both a national and local level.
The organization’s PR consultant, John Dunlap, added: “Besides the obvious pleasure in raising money for charities, any self-storage facility that hosts Charity Storage auctions is also likely to get positive media attention, and even more of a positive boost within their community. It all adds up to very good reasons for hosting Charity Storage auctions.”
Auction attendees bidding on the Charity Units tend to bid high, as they know the proceeds go to charities. A Charity Unit went for $700 earlier this month at Dollar Self Storage in Corona, CA, and the facility chose to donate their 60% of funds to The Young Americans, a national nonprofit performing arts organization.
Hahn said this business model is “a win-win in every direction.” She described Charity Storage as “an effort to streamline and professionalize charitable giving in the storage industry.”
Our self-storage blog is excited to see so many facilities using their vacant units to raise money for charity and give back to their communities. To get your self-storage business involved, visit http://charitystorage.com.