It is now launching nationally following a pilot scheme in Manchester. We asked Mark Charnock, their Managing Director, to tell us more.
What is Gone for Good and how does it work?
Gone for Good is a smart phone app which makes it easy for people to donate unwanted goods to charity. It works by allowing donors to upload photos and basic info about their unwanted goods via the app. The system then finds a charity that will collect those items for free, from the donor’s postcode.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from one of the founders who did some volunteering in charity stores, saw a number of operational issues that could be improved, and came up with the app as a way of resolving many of those issues. It was inspired by seeing how apps in other walks of life (such as Uber, Just Eat, Trainline) were helping the public to access services from many different providers at the same time.
What are the roles of your charity and corporate partners?
The charities’ role is, of course, to accept and collect the goods from the donor and then sell those goods to raise money for whatever good cause that charity supports. The corporates’ role is to encourage their stakeholders (mainly staff, but sometimes customers and clients) to download and use the app as a way of raising money for good causes and encouraging greater re-use and recycling.
If people want to donate clothes, do they have to donate a bag full or will the charities collect just one item?
The key thing is potential value. Ideally, charities like bags of clothing. The more there is, the more value they can secure by selling them. However, if you had individual garments that were high value (such as designer label clothes), potentially charities would collect them. They key thing is the resale value of the goods must comfortably cover the cost of sending a vehicle out for collection, so that the charity can earn a profit to be spent on good causes.
How much clothing do you expect to be donated through the app?
Around 10% of all donations by number during the pilot were clothing. The majority were larger furniture items that people would find hard to move out on their own. In time we would expect the proportion of clothing donated via the app to rise. Subsequent versions will also set out to make it easy for donors to find convenient places to drop off bags of clothing, as well as putting in place arrangements for smaller clothing donations to be picked up via couriers.
Why is donating clothes to charity important?
It’s important because it’s one of the biggest sources of funds raised by charities through their trading activities, accounting for over half the sales value in charity shops.
And finally… what do you do personally to “love your clothes” and keep them out of landfill?
I’m a typical man! I don’t buy many new clothes. My clothes get plenty years of wear. When, finally, I decide it’s time to make room in the wardrobe, I usually donate my unwanted clothes to charity shops; I donated to Cancer Research UK only last month. Finally, old t-shirts that wouldn’t really be worth much, if anything, to charity don’t go in the bin; they get used as rags for household chores.