Maximize your impact

Operate your furniture banking program on a shared platform!

For reuse charities in Canada, especially those emphasizing furniture redistribution and waste reduction, the struggle of balancing IT infrastructure and social enterprise sales with core operations can be a challenge. The Furniture Banking Support Services (FBSS) presents a valuable solution that addresses these challenges.

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Table of Contents

A common approach to furniture banking

Setting up and managing a furniture banking program, while straightforward in theory, involves intricate logistics and multi-faceted decisions. Challenges range from tangible aspects like transportation, hiring, and space management to the more abstract domains like process optimization, infrastructure development, sourcing funds through social enterprises, and demonstrating real-world impact.

Enter the Furniture Banking Support Service (FBSS) – our solution for streamlining these complexities. FBSS is an innovative approach that allows communities to collaboratively shoulder costs while reaping the rewards of a seasoned furniture bank setup. By joining our network, you gain exclusive access to a dedicated segment of our cloud-based platform, packed with tools and services fine-tuned to align with your organizational objectives. This system is designed to evolve with you, offering cost-saving measures and advanced capabilities as your needs expand.

With FBSS at your side, you can let your team concentrate on spearheading local projects and community initiatives, all while leveraging our extensive knowledge, expertise, and IT advancements from the past ten years. Our aim? To cultivate a unified, efficient, and effective furniture banking strategy for the whole of Canada.

Features

Furniture Banking Support Services

Rooted in our successful projects in Toronto, FBSS seamlessly bridges vendors, charities, and entire communities. Dive into a platform that ensures returned household items find new homes, channels valuable anonymized data for impactful marketing campaigns, and guarantees top-notch data security. Whether you’re looking to harness our state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, explore new revenue avenues, or tap into our proven track record spanning cities like Barrie, Ottawa, and Winnipeg, FBSS offers it all. Engage in a cost-effective partnership and discover the myriad of possibilities that come with being part of our expansive national furniture banking network. Welcome to the future of furniture banking in Canada.

INCLUDED IN ALL PLANS

  1. Your Branded Portal: You receive your charities personalized online portal for agency connections.
  2. Security and Privacy: While we employ the same platform daily in Toronto, rest assured your data remains compartmentalized and protected.
  3. Salesforce Powered: Access and coordinate your agencies, their referral cases, in-kind donations.
  4. Inventory Management: Keep track of donated items and generate reports.
  5. Social Enterprise Support: Operate your own furniture removal service, we can support with best practices and sales & marketing.  
  6. Corporate Projects: Working with Furniture Link to secure retailer returns and overstock for your community.
  7. Charitable Receipts: In-kind tax receipt reports for donations are available as donations arrive. 
  8. Training Tools: Online resources for staff and volunteers to learn the tools and processes.
  9. Unified Branding: Leverage shared branding standards to emphasize a national, collaborative effort.
  10. Operational Reports: Generate on-demand reports for showcasing your impact, families supported, items 
  11. Impact Reports: Annual reports on your impact for funders, and supporters 
  12. Online Networking: Join the Furniture Bank Network with over 250 organizations around North America.
  13. Learning Centre: A hub for educational materials, resources, and best practices.
  14. Ongoing Support: Your charity is spared technical maintenance worries, we provide a secure, updated, and efficiently running system.
  15. Always Improving: New cost sharing capabilities are always being added to support all members. 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES AVAILABLE 

  1. Google Ad Grant Management (for Pickup Social Enterprise) 
  2. Pickup Social Enterprise Service Website upgrade and Digital Marketing 
  3. Strategic Consulting for scaling your furniture banking program
  4. Grant Support for your Fundraising 
  5. Onsite training at Furniture Bank in Toronto 

No existing 'Pickup Social Enterprise'?

Whether you have paid pickup service now, looking to do so in the future or seeking a commercial collaboration in the future we can support you. With over a decade of experience in providing residential and commercial social enterprise services to fund our programs, you are in good hands for your own program.
Furniture Banking Support Services Logo

Furniture Banking Support Services

Benefits for your charity

Why you would want our Support Services

Are you a charity working with furniture reuse and ending furniture poverty? It can be costly and risky managing all the technology and social enterprise skills while keeping true to your cause and programs. That’s where the Furniture Banking Support Service (FBSS) comes into play. Here’s why FBSS is perfect for your charity:

1.

Low cost, with revenue potential!

FBSS is designed to be cost neutral for all parties, with cost recovery fees taken from social enterprise sales, or collaborating on grant fundraising to offset setup costs. More details below.

2.

Work more effectively

Our tech is user-friendly. It helps organize your tasks, keeps your day-to-day running smoothly, and gives you clear reports. Imagine seeing at a glance how many families you’ve helped!

3.

Dedicated Social Enterprise Sales Team:

Whether you’re looking to initiate or enhance your revenue and furniture strategies, FBSS’s specialized sales team is at your service. Leaving the booking intricacies to Furniture Bank’s seasoned experts. Thanks to our internationally acclaimed social enterprise model, your outreach operations can be expertly outsourced to FBSS. (Add-on services to manage Google Ad Grants available)

4.

Grow with Confidence:

FBSS synchronizes with your charity’s expansion. Our platform, having already supported 50,000+ families and 100,000+ donors, guarantees that the tools you need are available precisely when required.

5.

Unwavering Focus on Mission:

Channel your energy on community-centric objectives, like reducing furniture poverty and championing environmental sustainability. FBSS facilitates shared-cost ventures such as reporting, tax receipting, and more, allowing your team to stay mission-driven.

6.

Networking and Collaboration:

FBSS transcends mere service; it offers a community. By partnering with us, you join the expansive Furniture Bank Network (FBN) — a breeding ground for collaborative ventures, insights, and mutual support with peer reuse charities in North America.

7.

Strategic Corporate Collaborations:

In alliance with Furniture Link, FBSS brings ongoing sustainable corporate programs to you, already tested and proven by Furniture Bank. Providing your charity furnishings and funding to your charity.

8.

Decades of experience

Furniture Bank has been building on the vision of a shared collaboration cloud service since 2015. All the capabilities of FBSS’s are built from real-world insights from assisting numerous families year after year, and more and more reuse charities year after year. Management has over 40 years of tangible experience with furniture banking, social enterprise, IT, platforms, and corporate partnering making a trusted ally.

9.

Impact Measurement

Our Social Impact Reporting, leveraging the SROI Approach, offers an exhaustive overview of your charity’s footprint, a quintessential asset for stakeholder rapport and fundraising campaigns.

10.

Flexible Add On Service Modules:

FBSS is dynamic, offering an array of supplementary services, from trucking sales to grant writing, strategic planning, and other consulting options ensuring a bespoke experience for each organization. 

11.

Unified Branding Vision:

Access branded templates and materials to accelerate a professional service in the community. FBSS’s consistent branding guidelines empower members to present a consolidated front, amplifying the national network’s outreach while respecting your local identity. 

12.

Real time on demand reporting

Leveraging the capabilities of Salesforce’s reporting and dashboards you can use templated reports, or create your own to provide insight on the activities of your charity.

Read more about the reporting suite here in this blog post 

13.

Benchmarking

We seek to provide network wide guidance and support to help identify best practices and performance KPIs to showcase how your use of FBSS compares to other communities. 

14.

Continuous Updates & Maintenance:

Your charity does not have to worry about the technical upkeep of the platform. FBSS ensures that the system is always up-to-date, secure, and functioning optimally. You only pay for licenses based on your usage (cost recovery basis). 

15.

Start small, stay small...

While many furniture banking charities have grown to support thousands of families a year, the FBSS has no demands on how big your charity plans to be. Using common tools and systems lets you benefit from the scale of larger organizations. 

16.

Designed to startup new programs

We continue to invest in FBSS systems and processes to make creating a new furniture bank program for your charity both easy, clear and sustainable for you. We provide additional professional services to help with business planning, and marketing where its of interest.  

Furniture Bank Network
SHOW CASE YOU ARE PART OF A BIGGER MISSION
Donation pickup truck
FURNITURE REMOVAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
POWERED BY A CUSTOM FURNITURE BANKING PLATFORM
SHARE COSTS & OPPORTUNITIES
LEVERAGE OUR IMPACT MEASUREMENT MODEL
FBSS Donation Details LC
ON DEMAND REPORTING SUITE FOR YOUR CHARITY
COST SHARING AND SCALING TOGETHER

Delivering results since 2015

Cloud based platform for reuse charities

The platform that FBSS provides you access to has supported donors, agencies, and clients ensure we end furniture poverty in communities across Canada.  Designed to share with other communities to maximize impact and minimizes costs in the sector.

Cases referred
0
Furniture Donors
0
Individuals supported
0
Furnishings collected
0
Source: FBSS platform lifetime data, SROI report indicators

Pricing

What does it cost?

We have designed the pricing to give you access to a national platform without the large out of pocket costs that prevent starting up or scaling a furniture banking program. 

The majority of costs are taken from the fees from social enterprise or fundraising projects we undertake together. Furniture Bank sees this as a critical mission program for Canada and is committed to cost sharing and cost recovery to limit financial resources needed. 

The following toggle list are the different costs you can expect to see, or options costs to add on to your agreement for FBSS.

The time, staff and effort needed to setup a new community costs $5000.
* This fee is can be covered by a mix of solutions:

  1. Payment on contract signing.
  2. Paid via fundraising with us to cover these costs.
  3. Paid via a earn out from social enterprise activities. 

Where we are handling payments on your behalf, Furniture Bank will pass on the direct costs from our payment provider. This is a direct cost recovery with no markup. 
(See example below) 

Furniture Bank’s contact center will be handling all social enterprise inbound calls emails and contacts on your charities behalf. There is a 5% fee on completed bookings. This is settled from payments we send to you monthly.
(See example below) 

We have built the customized platform on Salesforce. Salesforce has a per use license model and we pass on the costs from Salesforce to your charity for each user you add on your organization.  At present the cost recovery fee is $100 per month per user on the platform. 
(See example below) 

Belong in a national network

A community of mission aligned reuse charities across Canada

Optional Service Pricing

Additional add on services

There are a number of OPTIONAL consulting services that can be discussed and customized for your needs. We find as we work together many consulting and projects are possible working together with this approach. 

Google offers a VERY GENEROUS charity ad grant program offering upto $10,000 of free ads. Organizing and maintaining the compliance and performance targets is challenging month to month without specific skills on staff. We can provide this service for own social enterprise pickup ads. 

We would deduct $200/month for this administration.

Comprehensive onsite training covering various aspects of furniture banking, including understanding the needs of families, obtaining furniture, receiving and sorting goods, repair and refurbishment, transportation, technology, reporting, and infrastructure. Led by different staff across all functions of Furniture Bank, the training aims to provide a holistic understanding of the furniture banking process and enhance the knowledge and skills of participants in order to improve their operations and services. 

Two day training with Furniture Bank Toronto staff
1. Module 1: Understanding the Family Experience

– Referral and qualification procedures for families
– Procedures and expectations for appointments

2. Module 2: Obtaining Furniture
– Effective marketing strategies and leveraging social media
– Managing in-kind donations: household items, reverse logistics

3. Module 3: Receiving and Sorting Goods
– Community and social enterprise donations
– Logistics of shipping, receiving, and sorting
– Handling housewares and kits
– Differentiating between items ready for reuse and those requiring repair, recycling, or disposal

4. Module 4: Repair and Refurbishment
– Social employment and training opportunities through reuse programs
– Collaboration with Miziwe Biik in workshop activities
– Decision-making: repair for reuse or resell through The Studio Social Enterprise

5. Module 5: Moving and Transportation
– Utilizing own Furniture Bank trucks for core transport
– Outsourcing transportation for additional needs

6. Module 6: Technology, Reporting, and Infrastructure
– Salesforce reporting and tracking for streamlined operations
– Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Note: We can customize training to suite needs and budget. Contract us to design a solution.

FBSS offers a co-fundraising service tailored to uplift special projects of your charity. Through this service, FBSS can choose to collaborate with your fundraisers to tap into potential grant opportunities that may otherwise be overlooked or inaccessible alone to provide expansion resources for your new furniture banking project.
Why Partner with FBSS?:

  1. Local and Regional Grants: Many grant opportunities are geographically specific, meaning FBSS alone can’t directly apply. However, in collaboration with local charities, this hurdle is surpassed.

  2. Skill Gap Bridging: Some grant applications require expertise that a you might not possess. By teaming up with Furniture Bank, these challenges can be overcome.

  3. Credibility Boost: Furniture Bank’s established track record in securing grants can enhance the credibility of a joint application, increasing the likelihood of success.

  4. Strategic Alignment: In select applications, while Furniture Bank manages the application process, the your charity can work with us to create specialized services to execute the furniture banking projects. Examples: Website resdesign, truck costs, impact measurement, presentation development for local government, strategic planning etc. are all possible to consider. 

We offer comprehensive guidance and expertise to assist your charity in establishing and optimizing a furniture banking project. Some of the areas and activities a retainer can accomodate include:

1. Comprehensive Site Analysis:
A thorough visit to your location for hands-on understanding, assessment of current operations, potential enhancements, and tailored suggestions for project improvement.

2. Transport Vehicle Plan:
Detailed analysis of electric vehicle truck use, encompassing aspects such as capacity, operational factors, and associated costs.

3. Financial & Organizational Review:
In-depth assessment of your existing financial statements, proposed organizational structure, and the potential fit of the furniture banking initiative. This includes the examination of relevant planning and fundraising documents.

4. Stakeholder Engagement:
Organizing and conducting meetings with potential funders, complemented by engaging presentations tailored for stakeholders like the management and the Board of Directors.  

5. Social Enterprise Business Plan Development: Collaborative assistance in crafting a comprehensive business plan, ensuring your team takes the reins while we guide. This process involves the critical review of essential data like SWOT analysis and financial metrics. We’ll also facilitate your resources, helping you pinpoint anticipated costs, potential revenues, and startup expenses.

6. Viability Analysis: A thorough examination of the project’s sustainability, giving you a clear picture of its long-term prospects.

7. Actionable Recommendations:
A concise memo outlining clear, actionable steps for your charity to take moving forward.

8. Travel & Logistics
Additional costs for travel expenses for two of our representatives, ensuring seamless communication and project alignment.

By partnering with us, your charity will be empowered with knowledge, strategies, and the foundational tools required to effectively launch and manage your furniture banking project.

Providing a comprehensive website rebuild with integrated digital tools for optimized operations and furniture removal social enterprise and fundraising activities. This includes leveraging Google Grants Advertising improved website visibility, user engagement, and data-driven decision-making. Additionally, local community engagement will be fostered through the adaptation of Toronto Pickup blog posts for the local market, and training on basic marketing tactics to undertake in the market. 

  1. Website Rebuild for Social Enterprise performance  
    1. Branded WordPress site that replaces current site 
    2. White label WP site template for other FBSS sites. 
  2. Website Support & Hosting   
    1. Website hosting and support  
    2. Training materials to manage admin / pages on their own (guide/training)
  3. Connecting digital tools 
    1. Adding Fundraise Up account 
    2. Google Analytics 
    3. Google Adwords
  4. Adapting Toronto Pickup performing blog posts for local market

 

Testimonials

MATTHEW HOUSE OTTAWA

“Being on the FBSS has helped our furniture bank to scale up our operations. It gives our team a streamlined process to work with, from acquiring furniture donations to maintaining inventory. The accessibility of FBSS give us the ability to operate more efficiently and at an overall higher capacity. The end result is more homes furnished in our community."

Example Monthly Costs

In this example your charity has a truck on the road for pickups social enterprise and the team at Toronto has booked $20,000 of residential or corporate jobs in your community. 

From these bookings the following cost recovery fees are deducted:

  • Payment Processing Fee  
  • Sales Service Fee
  • Technology License Fee 
  • Google Ad Grant Fee
Monthly statement

What is NOT INCLUDED ?

What your organization is responsible for

As an individual reuse charity, you maintain full control over key aspects of your organization while benefiting from the support tools provided by Furniture Bank FBSS. The following areas remain in your hands, without any involvement by Furniture Bank or the FBSS solution:

  1. Your own charity operations: You continue to manage and operate your governance, strategy, planning, accounting, legal, administrative, and general management processes.

  2. Your own staff management: The responsibility of recruiting, training, fostering organizational culture, values, and compensation systems for your staff and volunteers stays within your organization.

  3. Your own inbound logistics: As the overseer of the shipping, dispatch, and collection of donated furniture from local households and businesses, you can enhance your efficiency by leveraging the information provided by the FBSS platform. Day to day operations on the ground are for your needs.

  4. Your own operations: You remain in control for daily activities such as managing the family appointments, warehouse operations, receiving, reuse, and repair activities, you ensure that your community receives top-notch service. With support from FBSS, you are able to maintain consistent reporting and information.

  5. Your own outbound logistics
    You handle the crucial task of shipping, dispatching, and delivering furniture to families in need within our community. By utilizing the reporting from the FBSS platform, we can boost our efficiency and make an even bigger impact.

  6. Your own marketing communications: You maintain control over your charity’s PR, website, social media, and community affairs efforts, helping you to build your brand and establish a presence in your community. While we offer add on professional services, there is no obligation to use them. The only requirement from you is recognized membership in the Furniture Bank Network (FBN) as a way of showing a shared national network.

  7. Your own fundraising and development efforts: Your charity continues normal fundraising activities in your community such as proposals, solicitations, events, donor stewardship, and engagement with external stakeholders, allowing you to create strong relationships and support networks. FBSS provides a wealth of reporting for this work. As well FBSS does offer grant writing support but there is no obligation to use them.

  8. Issue your own Charitable Tax Receipting: Your charity continues normal tax receipting activities. FBSS will provides a report of inkind donors and information needed for issuing a tax receipt.

Furniture Bank’s FBSS aims to strengthen your organization by offering valuable support tools, while ensuring that the operation of your reuse charity remains in your capable hands.

Source: FBSS Reporting, Furniture Bank

30,000 people supported

Through the FBSS framework since 2020

Quick and easy to get started!

What do I need to know about the process?

Getting started is quick and easy. Starting with our service agreement that formalizes our collaborative steps together. After sharing details about your charity’s operations for the platform you can dive into our self-training modules for a launch. Connect with our Toronto team using online collaboration tools (Slack) and gain dedicated support from our Community Manager. As you adapt, immerse in our comprehensive tools, and always know our team is just a Slack message away. Onboarding and training can take as little as a week if your operations are ready to move quickly. We are focused on enhancing your mission while valuing your charity’s independence.

1.

Sign the FBSS Service Agreement

We ask you to sign a standard service agreement with Furniture Bank committing to the process of getting organized on the IT platform, and other process changes between our two organizations. 

2.

Provide information about your charity

We get to learn about your organization:

  • Who will want access?
  • What agencies will be able to make referrals?
  • What is your service area?
  • What your standard operating procedures currently 

3.

Do the Self Training Modules

We have created a library of training modules to let staff learn the system in small steps. This includes how to access Salesforce,  reporting, and furniture banking processes. This can also include live demos and screensharing. 

4.

Connect to the Toronto Team

Success of FBSS comes in part to collaborating with your partners here in Toronto via online collaboration tools of Salesforce & Slack. If you aren’t on Slack already there is a free grant application to follow to get access to full version. 

5.

Work with your Community Manager!

Your charity will have a Community Manager who will be familiar with your charity, FBSS, and what goes into a successful furniture banking program and FBSS launch. Engage them to clear up questions and concerns we haven’t been clear on. They are here to support you at launch and after. 

6.

Use all the tools!

Once all your agencies, users, and access are setup you will be using the same tools as we do here in Toronto. It can be a little overwhelming to start, but the best training is diving in with the self training guides and use the platform for all agencies, cases, furniture donors etc. 

7.

Ask for help when you need it!

Once you are live you will be coordinating with Toronto as needed but you can always reach out to the Community Manager assigned to support challenges or opportunities. They will pull other members of the team at Furniture Bank, or our business partner Furniture Link into the conversation. 

Furniture Bank’s FBSS aims to strengthen your organization by offering valuable support tools, while ensuring that the operation of your reuse charity remains in your capable hands.

Go live within 1 Week!

From signing the service agreement, to setting up your own furniture bank on the platform can be done as quickly as you provide information and complete the training. This can be just a single week of time. However we appreciate lots of things can get in the way of focusing on a project like this, so our experience has seen a one month average timeline to get fully trained and ready to go live on the platform. 

Case Studies

REDWOOD PARK COMMUNITIES (2019)

Furniture banking in Barrie / Simcoe Area

MATTHEW HOUSE OTTAWA (2022)

Furniture banking in Ottawa Region

OYATE TIPI (2022)

Furniture banking in Winnipeg Region

Interested? Let's Talk!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Helping clarify if Furniture Banking Support Services are right for you...

Have a question you would like answered about this service please email me and we will get it added to this section. Email [email protected] with your questions!

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