Magazines for literacy are enormously valuable and we greatly value the tremendous contribution of our volunteers. It’s wonderful when local needs can be met by local supplies of donated magazines moving short distances. So, we do support local delivery of magazines by volunteers, when and where feasible.
However, moving magazines around is labor and resource intensive, and we need to be as efficient and eco-friendly, as possible, while operating a completely reliable supply chain for our literacy programs and magazine readers.
For many reasons, it’s beneficial to collect and to deliver magazines within the same community, but our model also helps us to balance collection and delivery to meet needs where the local supply and demand of magazines does not always match.
By using USPS flat rate boxes, or other similar services, we can collect magazines anywhere in the U.S. and efficiently send them anywhere they are needed at the lowest economic and environmental cost. This allows us to reach more children and families with magazines.
The U.S. Postal Service is especially useful because they easily reach any mailing address for both pick-up and delivery; they provide free shipping boxes that can be ordered for free delivery to you from their online website; the boxes are made from recycled paper; they have handy online tools for purchasing postage and printing shipping labels; and free pick-up can be scheduled online too. We continue to explore ways to minimize our environmental footprint, for example by considering carbon offsets and other means.
For our greatest impact, when we consider how we want to best focus our talent, work, and resources – and how to best leverage the efficiencies and core competencies of the different players in our magazine literacy supply chain, we want our literacy programs to be the experts at defining their magazine needs and serving children and families; we want our local teams to be experts at assessing community literacy needs and engaging agencies, collecting and bundling good quality magazines, and fundraising; and, we feel it’s best to leave the logistics-intensive task of magazine delivery to the postal service and other delivery providers.
It’s mission critical for us to maintain a reliable supply of magazines for the local literacy agencies and readers we serve. Overall, this approach supports reliable, sustainable magazine literacy delivery with a force of magazine literacy volunteers and teams that operate along a wide spectrum of availability and timeframes, from organizing one-time projects to periodic initiatives to ongoing operations.
Using postal and other delivery services is the best, most efficient, cost-effective, and eco-friendly way for us to meet our magazine literacy promise.