In this episode of the Social Lights Podcast, podcast host and Social Mediology founder Kate vanderVoort chats with Juliette Wright, Founder and Director of GIVIT.org.au—an online donation and giving platform.
ABOUT JULIETTE and GIVIT
A former nutritionist who specialised in autoimmune diseases, cancer, and infertility—Juliette Wright has always wanted to help people. However, she realised one day that she wanted to help out in a different manner.
What started out as a person’s simple quest to donate baby clothes to a charity that really needed it has snowballed into Juliette starting a national charity. Through GIVIT, charities can request for specific items that they truly need—such as a microwave or mattress—and individuals can donate items they no longer need and give it to someone who does. Juliette and her team ensure that it’s always perfectly matched, down to the item’s size, quantity, and quality.
BIG IDEA 1
“It’s incredibly addictive to watch giving flow and helping it happen.” (8:47)
Juliette quickly realized that charities in her area needed very specific, sometimes even unusual, things. One charity asked for work boots, so that the father of a homeless family could get a job. “The simple school shoes that your kids no longer require, the lovely pencil case that they got given as a present that they never use—we do guarantee through GIVIT that they will go directly to someone who actually needs it,” Juliette shares.
They even allow the recipient to choose which donation to accept, giving them a sense of ownership. Juliette shares that these recipients tend to hold on to their items longer when they’re have a choice as to what they’re given. As such, her team sort through the donations, and have the right to refuse donations when they feel that it’s no longer in useable condition, or is essentially deemed not fit for gifting.
Apart from helping out those in need, GIVIT also sees to it that they help out the local economy when possible. When the quantity needed is large, for instance, then the charity asks its donors for money instead of physical items. The charity then uses then use this money to purchase the items from the local retailers.
BIG IDEA 2
“We are never not activated now.” (20:34)
Regardless of the time of year, GIVIT is working on either small or large activations. While they’re not always activated on the level of fires where all hands are on deck, they have other appeals that keep them busy. From January to April, for instance, they work on their Back to School campaign for kids that don't have essentials such as shoes, a pencil case, or a hat. After the holidays, they also get numerous requests stemming from domestic violence cases and families getting displaced who are in need of support.
BIG IDEA 3
“Don’t ever just give up, even if it just takes a little longer.” (43:37)
Juliette built her website numerous times—and failed—before getting it to work the way she wanted it to. She had lost about 800-900 AUD. She felt like an absolute failure, and shares that even if nobody else knew that she had failed—she did. But she dug really deep and told herself, “I’m going to do this anyway.” No matter what other people thought, she knew that it was important to her, and that’s what mattered.
It's been 11 years since GIVIT was first launched, and to date, over 1.5 million items have been donated to people in need. Juliette has been recognized has as 2015’s Australian Local Hero, and GIVIT has been promoted by celebrities such as the Duchess of Cornwall and even Barack Obama.
The charity has recently been given funding from the federal government’s Department of Emergencies to enable the website to manage multiple catastrophic disasters at the same time. Juliette continues to work tirelessly to ensure that GIVIT becomes a “giving portal that can be resilient enough to manage the quantity of people who want to give.”
You can find Juliette Wright and more about Givit at:
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Thanks for your time and stay inspired,