Most people understand the meaning of the word “donation”. Many people have no clear understanding of what is involved to receive and process donations.
Money is often the most common form of donation but there is another form called in-kind. In-kind donation, also called gift in kind, refers to the provision of goods or services to an organization, such as office equipment, computers, and software or administrative support.
As complicated and detail oriented as monetary donation requirements can be, dealing with non-monetary (or physical items) donations can present those same complexities as well as new levels of logistics. In other words… if someone donates a case of oranges, those items need to be inventoried and stored before they can be used.
However if someone donates six semi truck trailers of bottled water… the logistics involved become exponentially complex! We deal with the exponentially complex on a regular basis. Here is an example of receiving and processing a donation of six semi truck trailers of bottled water:
Number of Items
- 1 truck load = 22 pallets of 16 az bottled water
- 1 pallet = 84 Cases
- 1 case = 24 Bottles
- 1 truck load = 1,848 cases OR 44,352 bottles
- 6 truck loads = 132 pallets of 16 az bottled water
- 6 truck loads = 11,088 cases OR 266,112 bottles
Weight of items
- 1 pallet weighs @1,200 pounds
- 1 truck load weighs @26,400 pounds
- 6 truck loads weighs @26,400 pounds @158,400 pounds
Dimensions of Items
- 1 pallet = 50.35 x 42.3 x 47.4 inches = @60 cubic feet of space
(roughly 4 feet wide, 4 feet deep and 4 feet tall)
- 22 pallets = @1,320 cubic feet of space
(roughly 88 feet wide, 88 feet deep and 88 feet tall)
- 132 pallets = @7,920 cubic feet of space
(roughly 528 feet wide, 528 feet deep and 528 feet tall)
Logistically all that is needed is a location for storage and a forklift, right?
However, the people who need these bottles of water (the reason we have received the donation to begin with) might be able to deal with a few cases at a time but not necessarily pallets. This is where the logistics of processing enters the equation. Some of the pallets need to be unpacked and loaded in to smaller vehicles for delivery.
The point of this example is to demonstrate some of the complexities involved in receiving and processing non-monetary donations. In the above example we were dealing with large numbers of identical items. Often in-kind donations involve large numbers of items as well as mixed sizes and/or conditions. You can imagine the extra amount of time required to sort complications like that.