The Product Giving Alliance sees four charitable organisations, including Charity Digital, link up to help communities affected by COVID-19.
The four charities estimate that together they have already provided goods and services worth more than £59m to charities supporting vulnerable people.
They are now urging UK businesses to make donating products, software and equipment to charities a key part of their response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Demand is already high among charities for tech equipment, specialist support, medical supplies, food and in-kind gifts. This is set to continue in the aftermath of the crisis due to financial hardship many communities will face as charities are put under increased strain, says the Alliance.
“Sadly, it’s clear that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic UK charities will lose a substantial amount of their voluntary income whilst experiencing increased demand for an extended period of time,” said Jonathan Chevallier, Chief Executive of Charity Digital, which is the UK’s only discounted and donated software platform, providing software services, telecoms, PC hardware and accessories to charities.
“Donations of digital products and services can help charities meet this challenge by enabling them to operate more effectively and provide a better service to the people they support.
Charity Digital has helped 50,000 charities save nearly £260m on their software purchases and supports many more through articles, webinars, podcasts, videos and events.
He added: “Donations of every type of product and service will also help the charity sector weather this storm by saving money, which can then be deployed to frontline services.”
Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive Officer of FareShare, the UK’s largest food redistribution charity, said: “Businesses have stepped up during this crisis, donating enough stock for FareShare to double the amount of food we get onto the plates of those in need.
“But we know that when the restrictions are lifted many more people will face financial insecurity. Giving surplus or donated products, or offering up valuable staff time and expertise will continue to be a smart, cost-effective way for businesses to make a big impact in the communities in which they operate.”
Last year, FareShare supported more than 10,000 charities and community groups, via food donations from 500 food companies.
The Alliance’s aims are to work in partnership to meet the needs of charities during the COVID-19 pandemic and the long-term. It also aims to give businesses confidence that their donations will deliver measurable social impact.
Another aim is to highlight the environmental benefits of donating surplus stock, instead of sending it to landfill or recycling.
“By joining forces we’ll be able to quickly signpost charities to get the products or services they need - whether that’s software, vital food, medical or household supplies to keep delivering their services,” said Rosanne Gray, Chief Executive Officer of In Kind Direct, which supplies essentials such as toiletries and clothes.
Meanwhile, Adele Paterson, Chief Executive Officer of International Health Partners, which distributes donated medicines and health supplies to disaster hit and vulnerable communities, said: “Encouraging businesses to consider donating goods and services, and streamlining that process as far as possible will make a real difference to the charities Product Giving Alliance members supply, and to the millions of vulnerable people, both here in the UK and abroad who rely on those organisations for support.”