Alison Covington: “If it’s not keeping you up at night, it’s not worth doing.”
Published on third-sector.com.auMay 26, 2016 by Gali Blacher
Alison Covington had a steady career working in managerial positions in transport. She said she was happy and comfortable in that lifestyle and never saw herself working in the not-for-profit sector.
Covington is now the Founder and Managing Director of Good360 Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that helps businesses to connect their brand new, unsold goods with charities to help Australians in need.
The Good360 model has been run in America for 30 years, when Covington found out about this she couldn’t help but wonder why no one was doing this in Australia.
“I could see we have some fantastic charities in Australia but I was wondering about all the other things that weren’t food related. How were businesses donating from their inventory?” said Covington. “It was such a brilliant idea and no one was doing it! And I went ‘Okay it seems like it has to be me’.
“When I looked at the Good360 model, I thought it really completed the circle beyond just giving people [in need] food. You can’t just feed belly’s and think that’s solving their issues.”
After talks with the U.S, Covington quit her job and implemented the Good360 system in the Australian market.
“The logical thing for me was to see this problem and go and solve it,” said Covington.
“We have been live for 12 months and we have had the opportunity to test the systems, talk to the businesses and get them on board. We have some big brand names behind us now.
“We have almost 500 charities registered. We have about $12 million dollars worth of goods and our aim is to get that to $1 billion dollars. We are about to scale really fast.”
Covington said that running a NFP is not that different to running a for-profit business. She said that she is still running a big business, but the only difference is what happens with the profits.
“We are still running logistics, a warehouse and a big e-commerce business. A lot of NFPs are actually big commercial enterprises,” she said.“I think that is the advantage of spending more than a decade getting skills under your belt, that you can use and reinvest back into your community.”
Covington said that you have to be a little bit crazy to be a social entrepreneur.
“It is a huge sacrifice to start something like this – your family has to go along for the ride,” she said.
She compares Good360 to a lot of tech start-ups.
“We certainly don’t have the same resources as tech start-ups do,” she said.
“We are always relying on friends and colleagues in the industry. We are very fortunate for their support.
“Like all charities we are no different. We have to keep raising funds.”
Covington said that for anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps- they need to be ‘so passionate about the cause that they are waking up in the middle of the night thinking about it’.
“If it’s not keeping you up at night, it isn’t worth doing.”
Good360is now heading to it’s second year of being live and Covington is excited for it to keep growing and see what the future has in store.