IU study concludes that donating merchandise is good business

New research from Indiana University supports the notion that corporations do the most good—for themselves and others—by giving away extra stuff.

IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs conducted the study at the request of Good360, a not-for-profit that coordinates product donations between corporations and thousands of qualified charities.

IU said the study is the first detailed examination of the return-on-investment for donating merchandise, versus liquidating or destroying it.

“This research demonstrates that donating products can result in substantial financial and social benefits for minimal cost and risk,” said Justin Ross, assistant professor of public finance and economics and the lead researcher for this study.

Among the findings:

• Product giving can be a financial advantage over cash donations because it can carry an enhanced tax deduction.

• Product donations provide the same image-enhancement benefits as marketing and advertising programs and at a lower cost.

• Companies that engage in product philanthropy avoid fees and negative branding implications associated with disposal of excess inventory.

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