Enhancing Communities: How Spreetailers' Unique Skills Help Nonprofit Partners

The Spreetail Community Impact team kicks off a new partnership with Detroit-based Empowerment Plan in 2018. The organizations partnered for the Spread the Warmth initiative, which provided 2,000 EMPWR Coats to individuals experiencing homelessness across the US.

The Spreetail Community Impact team kicks off a new partnership with Detroit-based Empowerment Plan in 2018. The organizations partnered for the Spread the Warmth initiative, which provided 2,000 EMPWR Coats to individuals experiencing homelessness across the US.

For Spreetail, community partnerships have always been much more than writing a check. It is in Spreetail’s blood to go above and beyond, and our relationships with community partners are no different.

A Partnership Begins

The Empowerment Plan is a Detroit-based organization focused on permanently elevating families from the generational cycle of homelessness through the production and distribution of water-resistant EMPWR Coats, which quickly transform into a sleeping bag or over-the-shoulder bag. In winter 2018-2019, Spreetail donated 2,000 of these transformative coats to the Spread the Warmth initiative, providing crucial warmth to individuals experiencing homelessness across the country.

“We view the Empowerment Plan as a trifecta partner. They address all three of pillars of Community Impact programming: homelessness, families in transition, and underserved kids,” said Chad Kilpatrick, Head of Community Impact. “They are also the kind of nonprofit we prefer to work with. They are innovative, want to scale, and are successful in their impact.”

The end of winter and Spread the Warmth was only the beginning of this partnership, and this continued relationship brought to light pain points in The Empowerment Plan’s shipping and logistics processes.

Impact Through Experience

Robert Putt, a Regional Fulfillment Manager based in Nebraska, currently leads a team of Fullfillment Center Managers to ensure Spreetail’s warehouses operate as smoothly as possible. Through his career in operations and manufacturing, Robert has become an expert in production floors.

He was the obvious choice to help The Empowerment Plan uncover new efficiencies.

“They had asked for us to come in and help with some of their processes,” Robert said. “It really turned into helping them with some of their website and some of their web forums and web links, as I had done in another background. So, it started in one little corner and kind of expanded and grew.”

Regional Fulfillment Manager Robert Putt visits The Empowerment Plan in Detroit to help identify efficiencies in its production process. Robert’s background in operations and manufacturing made him the go-to expert to assist this Spreetail partner.

Regional Fulfillment Manager Robert Putt visits The Empowerment Plan in Detroit to help identify efficiencies in its production process. Robert’s background in operations and manufacturing made him the go-to expert to assist this Spreetail partner.

Robert expressed his surprise at helping the organization with so much outside of his normal tool belt.

“What was funny was that a lot of the things I helped them with were from my side projects, that I didn’t even know [The Empowerment Plan] was struggling with,” he said.

Since Robert’s visit to Detroit, Spreetail has kept in touch with The Empowerment Plan to see how Robert's help — including trimming a 38-step order intake process down to 15 steps — has improved the organization’s processes.

“We touched base a couple times after in relation to some of the web forums and how they’re order processing,” Robert said. “We cut their time and really made them more efficient.”

In addition to the joy and appreciation for the organization’s work that Robert gained by using his expertise to help The Empowerment Plan, his visit also deepened his appreciation for his career at Spreetail.

“The whole business and aisle of what [The Empowerment Plan is] doing is so special,” Robert said. “We talked about, ‘Why are you scaling here?’ and ‘What’s your business model?’ Really understanding what they’re all about made me appreciate how selective Spreetail was about choosing them as a partner. It says something about the values of Spreetail.”

This is just the beginning of Spreetail employees leveraging their strengths and knowledge to help community partners and use their talents for good. While Spreetail continues to grow, the opportunities to work with community partners will continue to grow in many different ways.

“It’s really cool to help Spreetail grow, but it’s kind of a real fun perk to go in and consult in another space, and get that experience personally. I see it as a little perk, being able to go and visit them and help them with their growth,” Robert said.

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Hailey Bunde

Hailey Bunde is a second-year Copywriting Intern from Lincoln, Nebraska. She's a strategic communication, writing, and graphic design student at Texas Christian University who's passionate about creating, storytelling, and lots of reality television.