Charity donations in spotlight with O-it campaign

Dr Ville Lahtinen with NACRO Vice President Terry ONeill at the pop-up shop.

The first community trials being carried out as part of a progressive Griffith University research project into improving the quality of charity donations have been hailed a success.

The sorting bags.

The O-it campaign was run over a two week period in late January. The Social Marketing @ Griffith trial included activation points at Cannon Hill Kmart Plaza and Logan Hyperdome Shopping Centre, and a funky pop-up op-shop in converted shipping containers at Cannon Hill’s Bill Cash Memorial Park.

Research Fellow Dr Ville Lahtinen said, “the O-it campaign aims to increase the quality of goods donated to charities so they can put more money into community services.”

The shopping centre activation points saw two different tote bags given to members of the public to help sorting their donations, each with entertaining descriptions of what different clothing qualities looked like for charities.

Staff and volunteers manning the points had conversations with shoppers around increasing the quality of donations and encouraged people to visit the pop-up shop, where they could see and purchase preloved fashion.

Dr Timo Dietrich Griffith University Impact Conference 2016
Dr Timo Dietrich.

Social Marketing @ Griffith Director of Engagement Dr Timo Dietrich said the tote bags were immensely popular among locals.

“The bags were flying off the racks, we could barely keep up with the demand,” Dr Dietrich said.

“It’s great to see because now hopefully this will help people to consider what they give to charities.

“Our society is far better off having charities operating at their full capacity, rather than diverting crucial funds to cleaning up in front of their stores or at their bin donation locations.”

“The pop-up store has been a great success in attracting high quality donations and we had many people visit our pop-up store to buy preloved fashion,” Dr Lahtinen added.

The O-it campaign is one of several approaches being rolled out as part of a three-year field trial, testing social marketing approaches to behaviour change to address the issue, which sees organisations deluged by more than 60,000 tonnes of unusable product each year.

The research project is funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage project. Social Marketing @ Griffith is partnering with the Queensland Government and the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations on the research.