Retailers Partner with Soles4Souls To Support Communities

Guest blog from Erica Calhoun, Soles4Souls

Advancing sustainability and creating true positive impact is more important than ever for retailers. It’s not just about the product you’re selling, but also customers' and employee’s understanding of your brand values overall. It is a challenging time for many, with social and economic issues exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. As companies navigate today’s environment, it's important to look at how we can tackle these issues, even in small ways, through the power of brands and partnerships.
Since 2006, Soles4Souls, a global nonprofit based in Nashville, Tennessee, has partnered with brands to distribute more than 73 million pairs of shoes and pieces of clothing across the world. In addition to their donations, the organization collects gently used shoes and clothing, helping entrepreneurs in developing countries launch and sustain their own small businesses. Several  RILA-member brands have partnered with Soles4Souls to make an impact and give back to local and global communities.
At DSW, customers can donate up to 20 pairs of new or gently-worn shoes to any store location and receive 50 DSW VIP Rewards points. To date, over 5 million pairs have been collected, keeping 6.25 million pounds of textiles from going to waste in landfills. Soles4Souls helps people in developing countries launch and sustain their own small businesses selling these donated shoes. Through this partnership, DSW drives traffic to their stores, customers are incentivized to donate with reward points, textiles are kept out of landfills, and entrepreneurs are able to lift themselves out of poverty. 
Service is an additional way retailers can partner with Soles4Souls. Without volunteers, Soles4Souls’ mission could not be fulfilled. It’s not only a way for retailers to invest time in giving back, but also a tool to engage their own employees. In 2016, Dollar General started sending its team members to volunteer in warehouses across the country, sorting through shoe donations. Additionally, they’ve utilized their connections to acquire new products for donations, including nearly 10,000 pairs of gloves from Tactical Logistic. This example is a simple way brands can partner and be involved in service work year-long, all while involving their employees.
Through Macy’s “Share the Warmth” campaign, Soles4Souls has been able to distribute tens of thousands of brand new coats each winter across the country. For the last 9 years, Macy’s has done a ‘buy a coat, give a coat’ campaign in stores and online, and over 300,000 coats have been provided.  This partnership has been crucial in helping kids and adults across the country get through winter months.
There are many ways to partner with Soles4Souls, whether through donation of excess inventory, employee giving and company matching, or take back programs. Whatever social issues matter most to a brand’s employees and community of customers, Soles4Souls offers a variety of customized partnerships that serve those in need, create opportunities, and protect the environment. 
A global study by Cone Communications found that 91% of customers are likely to switch loyalty, given comparable price and quality, to brands associated with a good cause, and 96% have a more positive image of companies that support corporate social responsibility. As your business looks to meet the demands of an ever-changing consumer market, consider the people and planet causes that resonate with customers and employees and use your brand’s visibility to make a difference.
To inquire about a brand partnership with Soles4Souls, contact the Business Development team at
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