By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Good time to take a look at your 'stuff'

Here’s a sneak preview about a new nonprofit fund-raising strategy. No names at this point.

OK, I will drop one name: MacHub. And here are some tantalizing tidbits about a program we hope to unveil next month in the News-Register.

As visualized, it’s an idea that combines elements of Goodwill Industries, nonprofit thrift shops and television’s “Antiques Road Show.” People who participate will provide needed financial support to local nonprofits while helping themselves in more ways than one.

This is a pilot project that will continue for at least six months. However, organizers hope that resulting “proof of concept” will propel the program into a local, regional and even national network to realize its great potential.

It’s a program that offers opportunities for sustainable fundraising, always a challenge for nonprofit groups of all sizes. The idea is to minimize the time and bother of turning clutter into cash, maximize the benefits to nonprofits and boost the tax advantages to donors.

It all begins with potential donors whose homes, garages and warehouses are filled with a dizzying array of “things” that have diminished meaning to their lives. But for various reasons, we can’t let them go.

People are natural pack rats. Those “things” — even ones we will never use or even care much about — are strangely comforting on our shelves. We think some are too valuable to just give away, but ironically, many of them are more valuable than we realize.

Here’s one core concept of the MacHub project: An item we believe is worth $250 probably won’t turn out to be worth $500, but something we value at $15 just might be a collectible worth $250 to someone else. That means more value to a recipient nonprofit, and clear IRS evidence of gift value.

Intrigued? I hope so. With little fanfare, the MacHub idea is generating excitement among people who recognize its potential to help donors unclutter their lives while supporting a favorite cause.

As launch time approaches, program organizers are acutely aware that MacHub has a small window of time to meet some ambitious goals. The project faces financial, technological and operational challenges, but those obstacles are rapidly turning into opportunities.

Details will follow … many details. For now, keeping the MacHub concept in mind, start taking a look at your own “stuff.”

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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