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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Ross

Service at Scale

"When partners fund their event through TBP, they can pack 100 backpacks with the same money they would have spent on 25 backpacks."

Since 2015, we’ve packaged and hand-delivered nearly 9,000 backpacks containing food, toiletries, and clothing supplies to people experiencing homelessness throughout the state of Georgia.

I must confess, however, the backpack distribution idea isn't what I would call earth-shattering innovation. Many church groups, high school clubs, and families carry out the important work of packing and delivering food, toiletries, and clothing items to people experiencing homelessness. (Our founder, Zack, actually got the idea for TBP from a Seattle couple he saw trending on Facebook in 2015).

So, what’s so special about our model at TBP, Inc.?

TBP, Inc. differentiates itself by executing the tried-and-true backpack distribution event on a large and sustainable scale. We source thousands of high-quality items from in-kind donors, like Gordini, Bombas, and Patagonia, and we purchase all other goods wholesale. We’re proud to say our backpacks could market for $80 or more, even though we procure them for under $20 each. Any leftover donations fund our chapter organizations, which focus on sustained, long-term relationships with their clients.

On a dollar-for-backpack basis, this means we're spending "funds for homelessness" 4x more efficiently than a smaller group might for a one-off event. So, we always jump at the opportunity to procure items for one-off events. It’s a win-win for partner groups, too. When partners fund their event through TBP, they can pack 100 backpacks with the same money they would have spent on 25 backpacks.

In economics, we refer to riskless gains derived from an imbalance of prices as an “arbitrage opportunity.” Usually, these gains are denominated in dollars. Well, I view TBP's offer as a tremendous arbitrage opportunity denominated by impact. At TBP, we’ve made it our goal to seek groups distributing backpacks and to pitch partnership with our organization as a way to significantly improve BOTH quality and quantity simultaneously. We've also made it a goal to continue displacing purchased goods with in-kind partnerships, amplifying the arbitrage opportunity for impact even higher.

Ultimately, TBP, Inc.'s size enables our organization to hack the run-in-the-mill backpack service model for the benefit of clients experiencing homelessness.

Partner today and do more for less!

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