Surplus goods distributor scraps membership fee

In Kind Direct, which receives surplus products from businesses and distributes them to its member charities, has waived its annual registration fee for charities.

The move means that organisations hoping to benefit from donated goods will have to pay only handling and transport costs.

In Kind Direct, which was founded by Prince Charles in 1996, is able to waive the fee because of savings made by streamlining its business last year. The charity’s staff costs were reduced after it launched an online catalogue with the help of funding from Proctor & Gamble.

“Getting rid of the fee is great news because it was a barrier to a lot of smaller charities that could really benefit from our services,” said Robin Boles, the organisation’s chief executive. “Before that we found some would join and then drop out after the first year because they couldn’t afford the increases.”

Member charities can choose goods online and pay a handling fee of between 10 and 15 per cent to receive them. The products must be used in the running of the charity or distributed to its beneficiaries.

“It works better for some charities than others,” said Boles. “If they have wide-ranging needs like toilet rolls, toys, clothes or appliances then this is the place for them.”

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