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Last modified: Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Good360, IU collaborate to measure impact of 'product philanthropy'

Aug. 24, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Good360, formerly Gifts In Kind International, have completed the first year of a unique, ongoing collaboration designed to measure the impacts of corporate gifts-in-kind to non-profit organizations.

The collaborators have focused on evaluating the effects on community nonprofits of Framing Hope, a partnership between Good360 and The Home Depot Foundation in which unsold merchandise from Home Depot stores is donated to participating nonprofit organizations. More information and preliminary research results may be seen at

The collaboration to develop reliable metrics began as an effort to help Good360 better understand and communicate the financial and social impacts of corporate product donations, both to recipients and to current and potential corporate donors. The initial idea quickly generated widespread interest among School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) faculty members, not only from the public policy and non-profit management disciplines, but also from environmental science.

"Once we began talking," said IU professor Lisa Blomgren Bingham, who holds the Keller-Runden Chair in Public Service in SPEA, "it became apparent that there would be multiple ways to look at the impacts -- the organizational effects on the nonprofits receiving and managing donations, the social effects on the end-users of the products and the effects on environmental sustainability. It is exactly the kind of complex research project that is custom-made for the School of Public and Environmental Affairs."

"The research is invaluable to Good360 and other in-kind giving programs because it will help us to better explain the leveraged value of product giving," added Cindy Hallberlin, CEO and president of Good360. "We are excited to continue with the research after completing the study on the Framing Hope program and unveil even more groundbreaking findings to our corporate partners at our product giving summit this fall."

Lisa Blomgren Bingham

Lisa Blomgren Bingham

Print-Quality Photo

The early research is promising. SPEA environmental science professor Diane Henshel's "capstone" class of students completing master's degrees quantitatively estimated how product donations contribute locally both to energy savings and to reduction in landfill use. SPEA faculty members Evan Ringquist and Justin Ross hope to expand on this "green philanthropy" research, and have additional grant applications in process.

In terms of organizational impact of product philanthropy, SPEA nonprofit management professor Beth Gazley conducted a national survey of nearly 800 charities that had partnered with The Home Depot Foundation through Framing Hope, to determine how product donations affected their ability to carry out their missions. Further research on disadvantaged populations as the end-users of these donations by SPEA social policy professor Kristin Seefeldt is also in the works. The entire multidisciplinary project is assisted by SPEA doctoral students Gordon Abner and Oral Saulters.

For more information on the research collaboration and links to research findings, visit

About SPEA

The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs is a world leader in public affairs and the environmental sciences and is the largest school of public affairs in the United States. In the most recent "Best Graduate Schools" by U.S. News & World Report, SPEA ranks second and is the nation's highest-ranked graduate program in public affairs at a public institution. Six of its specialty programs are ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News.

About Good360

Good360 is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to fulfilling the needs of nonprofits by distributing corporate product donations around the world. The organization works with the nation's top brands and retailers to provide needed products to more than 19,000 qualified nonprofit organizations. This year, Good360 will launch the latest version of its new, innovative online marketplace that helps to aggregate the product needs of nonprofits and provides timely information about how product donations are used for the greater good. Good360, formerly Gifts In Kind International, is ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the nation's best-managed charities in America.