In the News

  • 08/24/2011 - Good360, Indiana University Collaborate to Measure Corporate ?Product Philanthropy?

    Good360, Indiana University Collaborate to Measure Corporate ?Product Philanthropy?

    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 nonprofit 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 http://www.indiana.edu/~spea/research/interdisciplinary_research/index.shtml.

    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 nonprofit management disciplines, but also from environmental science.

    ?Once we began talking,? says 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 (http://summit.good360.org).?

    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, nonprofit management professor Beth Gazley conducted a national survey of nearly 800 charities that had partnered with The Home Depot Foundation through Good360?s Framing Hope program, 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 multi-disciplinary 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 http://about.good360.org/AboutUs/Product_Giving_Research.

    About SPEA
    The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs (
    http://www.spea.indiana.edu) 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.