Nonprofit returns to its roots with seasonal pop-up stores; expands fundraising efforts and increases volunteer opportunities
Under One Roof (www.underoneroof.org), the first charity retail organization to benefit the AIDS & HIV community, announced today that it will be significantly changing its business model to better support its 20+ AIDS, HIV and LGBT service partners due to a variety of economic circumstances. Part of this restructuring will include the closing of Under One Roof’s permanent retail space in the Castro district in March of 2013.
After much consideration, Under One Roof’s board of directors voted to close its doors and mark a return to the 21-year-old organization’s early business model of operating short-term, holiday-driven retail events in donated or low-cost locations. Board members saw this change as the best, most cost-effective solution to allow the nonprofit to fulfill its mission in the wake of a challenging economy, soaring overhead costs, a decrease in charitable donations and a changing retail landscape.
Under One Roof is in the process of clarifying the specifics of its next steps, called the ‘Greater DEPTHS’ plan, but will reveal these details at a community event later this fall.
“This decision was by no means an easy one; it is the result of much soul searching and effort to try and make our current model work,” said Tony Hart, Under One Roof’s Board Chairman.
“In the end, it was clear that in order for us to remain viable and truly support the agencies we exist to serve, we would need to rethink our model and make some big changes. We are excited to roll out our plans for the future, and are confident that Under One Roof will remain an inspirational and important member of the AIDS, HIV and LGBT community for years to come.”
In its early years, the majority of Under One Roof’s sales came from merchandise provided free of charge by generous vendors. This, in addition to large corporate donations, allowed Under One Roof to provide its agency partners with healthy payouts for many years.
That model evolved into a traditional and permanent gift shop, which involved purchasing merchandise for resale, and pulling together agency donations from the margins generated by selling these items for a modest profit. These payouts were smaller than desired and less than what organization leaders believed should be provided to beneficiaries. As a result, leadership ultimately decided that the best solution would be to revise the nonprofit’s structure.
The Greater DEPTHS vision currently outlines the organization’s return to its seasonal and holiday legacy with periodic pop-up sales events, an expanded fundraising program, new partnerships with other community-based organizations, a strategic focus on ecommerce, and an enhanced volunteer network. Under One Roof’s board believes these changes will lead to increased agency donations and more opportunities for local volunteers passionate about participating in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS and LGBT equality.
Hart emphasized that this change is in no way indicative of Under One Roof’s belief that the disease is over, or that its benefiting organizations no longer need support.
“Quite the contrary,” Hart said. “ We are committed to continuing to provide necessary funds to our agency partners and believe this new plan will help us meet this goal much more effectively.”
For its final holiday season on Castro, Under One Roof is already gearing up to make it lively and festive, with a major celebratory event to take place in mid-November and a splendid array of wonderful holiday gift merchandise to purchase through the end of the year.
ABOUT UNDER ONE ROOF: www.underoneroof.org
Created in 1991, Under One Roof was the first non-profit retail store of its kind. The organization raises unrestricted funds for 22 AIDS/HIV Service Organizations that provide direct assistance to San Francisco Bay Area men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Since its opening, Under One Roof has sold over $11 million in retail merchandise to benefit local AIDS charities.