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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Virtual Thrift Store Helps You Clear Clutter and Benefit Charities, Too

The following article by Shazia Kahn describes a New York-based virtual thrift store that's a win-win-win for people who have clutter, those who want a good deal, and charities who don't have the ability or desire to run a physical thrift store. If your favorite charity is not on their list, you can have an email sent to them inviting them to join. 

The Webthriftstore will send you a prepaid postage label and USPS will pick up your item, so you don't even have to make a trip to the post office!  Great idea!

"From clothes to shoes to so much more, many of our closets are bursting with stuff: Lots of stuff. The NPD Group, a consumer market research company, estimates the average U.S. household has $7,000 worth of unused items.

Lynn Zises and Doug Krugman thought why not put those unused goods to good use and launched Webthriftstore.com, similar in some ways to eBay Giving Works, the online business allows donors to post items, set the price and choose a charity to receive 80 percent of the sale. Twenty percent goes to Webthriftstore.com.

Any registered 501c3 charity can join for free, and get an online thrift store without the work or cost.

'There are big leaders in the thrift business, but for the average non profit, a lot of them don't have the resources to take in-kind donations, they don't have the resources to run a thrift store and this really allows any non profit, to have a virtual online thrift store in which they never ever touch their inventory. It goes directly donor to buyer and they get the sale proceeds,' Zises said.

Zises has experience in the not profit sector and Krugman in tech start ups. The husband and wife team married their talents to start the Chelsea-based business last fall. The site features a wide range of used and unused goods which the owners say can potentially raise tens of thousands of dollars overall for the growing list of participating charities, including the ASPCA and East River Development Alliance.

'It's a novel approach. It really provides another avenue for our constituents to support the ASPCA to be engaged when they can't do so financially,' said Jim Echikson of the ASPCA.

'It's been a way for us to not only get the word out among our existing supporters but also among new supporter,' said Jeremy Reiss of the East River Development Alliance.

Once the item is sold and shipped the donor receives a tax receipt for the sale.

'It 's a win-win-win situation for the donor, the buyer and for the charity,' Krugman noted.

For more information, visit Webthriftstore.com."

More ways to donate your clutter:

Donate Your Bikes to Youth Bike-Refurbishing Programs

Donating Business Clothing for Job Interviews

Animal Shelters Accept What Other Charities Can't Use