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E-Commerce

Want to Donate Your Old Sofa to Charity? There’s an App for That

The sharing economy is rooted in the idea that at any given moment, the things that people own—their tools, their cars, and sometimes even their homes—are sitting idle, ready to be used by someone who needs them. The Internet is a natural marketplace for matching these assets with consumers, in many cases providing a revenue stream for the owners who sell or rent them. For those motivated more by giving than by profit, now there’s a platform for selling their unwanted stuff and seamlessly donating the proceeds to charity. By streamlining charitable donations, WebThriftStore provides an essential service for non-profits, which often don’t have the infrastructure to process in-kind donations, let alone the resources to run a physical store. “[Charities] don’t even have to deal with an online commerce operation,” said founder Doug Krugman in an interview with Techonomy at the recent Collaborative, Peer, and Sharing Economy Summit at New York University. “We do all of that for them.” Users simply take a picture of an item using the company’s ThriftSnap app, post a description, and choose the charity they want the proceeds to go to. When a buyer purchases that item through the WebThriftStore platform, the donor receives a prepaid shipping label or makes arrangements for pickup, and money from the sale goes straight to the charity, less a 20 percent fee. While the entire transaction takes place online, Krugman believes that sharing and peer-to-peer platforms like his offer an important reminder that there are “people on the ends of that network.”

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