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.
With Australia accelerating efforts towards circularity by 2030, it is critical that all sectors of the economy and society are working together collaboratively and cooperatively to address the increasing resource constraints, inequities in resource allocation and growing waste challenges. This requires consumers, businesses, governments, and the charitable sector to all play their part in creating a more sustainable and equitable future for all, recognising we are all part of a collective dynamic ecosystem that is co-creating our future together.
Congratulations to our Member of the Month for March, Uniting Vic.Tas. Uniting Vic.Tas run several programs to assist communities in need and provide donations from Good360 in addition to services they provide. Since becoming a member in 2018, they have shared numerous impact stories of the joy they have created, especially to communities who have not experienced outreach previously. Read below on some of their programs and some special stories they have experienced on the ground.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, and this year UN Women Australia’s 2023 theme is ‘Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future’. This brings an opportunity for everyone to acknowledge the power of innovative technologies and systems in the advancement of women, who are marginalised globally and have a smaller presence in the digital world. We are also challenged to address the current barriers in place that keep women stagnant and play our small part to welcome women to move through society as comfortably as men.