Kits For A Cause is a social enterprise that is powered by The Bargains Group. Located in Toronto, but empowering companies across the country to give back to their local community through Kit packing. Kits for a Cause engages teams by matching them to a charitable partner that aligns to the cause that they’re passionate about and teaches them how to host a Kit packing event. Led by award-winning entrepreneur and President of The Bargains Group Jody Steinhauer and impact driver Lauren Ott – both women are passionate about engaging the corporate community to give back while providing meaningful engagement to their team.
While building her business The Bargains Group, Jody founded the charity Engage and Change. Engage and Change has hosted two annual events for the past 20 years: Project Winter Survival and Project Water. At each event, hundreds of corporate volunteers participate in packing 3,000 survival kits for over 170 social service agencies and nonprofits who support individuals who are homeless. Inspired by the power of these events, Jody took her proven model of Kit and decided to scale it by making it a social enterprise that serves any cause, in any community, with any Kit need!
Kits for a Cause has established impact-driven community engagement by making it easy for companies, individuals, families and faith-based groups to give back, as well as supporting 100’s of nonprofits with the necessary supplies they need to serve their clients. It is easy, accessible and affordable for everyone to take action with Kits for a Cause.
Development of Enterprise and Organization Structure
Kits for a Cause is powered by The Bargains Group. This was a conscious decision made by leadership in order to make it sustainable and scalable from day one. Lauren Ott was brought on to run Kits for a Cause, after a successful career working with social enterprises like ME to WE, non-profits like Free The Children (now WE Charity) and various government bodies. Kits for a Cause uses The Bargains Group’s wholesale inventory for the Kits Supplies, as this inventory is used to support nonprofits and social services on a daily basis, across the country.
All causes are supported with our Kits, because any non-profit/social service agency can join as a partner! The group who is packing Kits chooses their cause (poverty, homelessness, women’s empowerment, etc.) and the team at Kits for a Cause matches them to a charity in their neighbourhood that supports their cause – it’s that simple.
Kits for a Cause is for profit, for a purpose. There are no fees for consulting, matching to a local charity directly or helping to plan the event – the customer only pays for the Kits supplies. There are 5 target client segments: Corporate, Conference/Event Planners, Schools, Faith-Based Groups and Families & Individuals. The client would be best served with us if they are looking for a group bonding experience, employee engagement event, icebreaker, elevating an existing event or donor experience and/or looking for a group volunteering opportunity.
Our Kits supplies are cost-effective because The Bargains Group sells at below discount wholesale prices. With every purchase of Kits supplies, Kits for a Cause donates 1 item per Kit, thanks to The Bargains Group Full Circle Donation Program.
Challenges and Successes
The main challenge that has developed is turnover within the non-profit institutions. Every Kits for a Cause Charity partner can offer their donors or groups interested in volunteering with them, that they participate in a Kits for a Cause event. However the nature of an employee in the nonprofit world is quite transient, so it becomes challenging when staff leave and new staff are not informed of our program offerings.
A milestone of success was launching our first website in June. A recent milestone was sending more than 50,000 students back to school with our Back to School Success Kits!
Impact – Kits For A Cause has reinvested in the community by successfully empowering companies and groups to pack 112,525 Kits worth over $700,000, supporting 300+ charities which resulted in employee engagement opportunities for more than 12,000 people.
People want to give back, but they do not know where to start. Donors no longer want just a cheque presentation and photo-op, they want an engaging experience that allows them to participate in the impact being made.
Kits for a Cause has flipped fundraising and employee engagement upside down. The future will bring an empowered workforce that gives back through uncomplicated hands-on activities. Kits for a Cause’s goal is that nonprofits and social services never have to buy their own supplies ever again. Instead, through Kit packs, they’ll receive the right items, at the right time.
Please note – this version is a draft and the final (without spelling mistakes, etc.) will be ready shortly.