First Book commits to elevate the work of other nonprofits attempting to deliver essential goods to children and families in need throughout North America by removing logistical and operational barriers to the growth and efficiency of the social sector.
First Book Logistics (FBLogistics) will be a fee-for-service platform for nonprofits serving children and families in need. Use of FBLogistics will reduce costs and elevate the effectiveness of other nonprofits' cash and staff resources, allowing them to focus their resources on the real priority: the children needing their help.
By expanding its current infrastructure with IT and staff resource extensions, First Book can take advantage of economies of scale. This strategy will serve both the nonprofit sector and corporations trying to contribute desperately needed goods to the base of the economic pyramid.
FBLogistics will offer participants as few or as many services as needed from a menu of options: warehousing; inventory management and insurance; user-friendly ecommerce platforms; access to a verified/audited market of classrooms/programs serving children; fulfillment and shipping; white label options for an additional fee; and the opportunity to add their users to the First Book Network.
FBLogistics warehouse capacity is available through two systems: surplus warehousing (a nationwide system of donated warehousing for in-kind contributions) and contractual warehousing.
FBLogistics will also promote collective negotiations for services. First Book has and continues to negotiate discount structures that incorporate participating NGOs for services, including shipping and insurance on inventory, thereby lowering costs through combined purchasing power.
From their savings, partners will pay FBLogistics in two categories. First is fee-for-service, which includes payments for all outsourced services as a percentage of their FBLogistics-processed product volume. (Amounts TBD during the pilot design phase.) Second is fee-for-access, which includes payments for access (percentage TBD) to an aggregated, growing market of 250,000 educators serving children in need. FB has conducted experiments using the network and Marketplace within both of these fee types.
First Book will measure results using quantitative data including the number of new nonprofit partners onboarded, amount of resources distributed, total reduction in partners operational expenses, and earned revenue to support FBLogistics continued improvement. FB will create a specific dashboard to monitor and report on FBLogistics.
Although the foundational work for First Book Logistics has been building over the last two decades, First Book is now prepared for the launch of this new program. Activities will include:
-Identify initial partners: FBLogistics has already identified initial potential partners, including Feed the Children and the U.S. Soccer Foundation. These organizations will provide crucial pilots that will ensure the success of the commitment.
-Draft business plan: An initial business plan has been circulated.
-Fundraising: FBLogistics will require funds to elevate and extend the systems of the parent organization, including technical needs for inventory management and warehousing, as well as for additional staff. A full fundraising proposal is being developed and efforts to raise funds will be ongoing in 2016.
-Staffing: First Book will require additional staffing to manage key roles for First Book Logistics. Recruitment will be ongoing by 2016 Q4.
-Finalize business plan.
-IT integration for product placement, warehouses and inventory management.
-Initial pilot design: Planning work with partner organizations will reveal fee structures and technical interface requirements.
-Website design modifications: These pages will be available to partners to highlight their participation, mission, and the relationship to FBLogistics as an innovative centerpiece system for the social sector. Precise placement of the pages is TBD.
-Pilot activation: First Book will report on early pilot results to the wider social sector.
-Reporting on pilots: Results will be used to modify systems.
-Refine final business plan and fee structure options and customizations.
Q3 and Q4 2017:
-Launch First Book Logistics to entire sector, assuming adequate funding is raised.
First Book (FB) has been devoted to equal education for 24 years. FB strives to deliver the highest quality books and resources to its network of classrooms and programs serving children in need. The organization has delivered more than 145 million books and resources and has built its models by successfully collaborating with thousands of mission-aligned nonprofits. Over the years, FB has become increasingly aware of significant challenges restricting the success of the sector.
Many nonprofits have no systems to allow them to efficiently deliver goods desperately needed by children in poverty. Nonprofits are faced with either building expensive logistics systems or being limited to manual processes. In addition, fundraising for infrastructure is the most difficult support to raise because funders often limit grants to programmatic elements. The result is that great ideas and hardworking teams are hamstrung by inefficient, duplicative systems that limit success. These same failures of the field complicate in-kind donations from corporations attempting to provide vital products because of expectations that their in-kind donations will be handled promptly and effectively. First Book Logistics seeks to release this tremendous bottleneck in the social sector and elevate the impact for children in need and the organizations that serve them.
With its increasingly large network of educators now more than 250,000 First Book offers both a central bank of recipients and a central system of processing and delivery. In designing and scaling its innovative model, First Book has developed sophisticated control systems to support (1) multiple warehouse locations, (2) inventory management across products and locations, (3) user-friendly ecommerce platforms that makes access to essential products efficient, and (4) safe and transparent payment processing. By launching First Book Logistics, First Book is now poised to elevate the work of other non-profits with essential goods for children in need throughout North America.
First Book Logistics is seeking $1,200,000 in funding to support the expansion of IT systems to accommodate the growth anticipated; the rebuilding of the primary platform; the staff resources for 18 months to manage pilot launch and interface with new partners; the design resources for website and marketing content; and new warehousing expenses.
FBLogistics proposes to serve as the logistical and operational platform for the full range of nonprofits serving children in need in the U.S. and Canada. By elevating their systems, FB proposes to dramatically lower the cost and increase the efficiency of social sector organizations distributing products to those living in poverty. First Book Logistics would serve both the nonprofit sector and corporations trying to contribute desperately needed goods to the base of the economic pyramid. First Book proposes to apply the fundamental components that could be used to elevate the donation system of almost all goods across North America, including: a national database of schools and programs serving children in need, online inventory control systems, warehouse management, and shipping and logistics expertise.