Guest Post: Giving Back… Recognizing the Evolution of Charitable Giving within the Self-Storage Industry By Scott Zucker

Self Storage has many positive attributes. Undoubtedly, easy access to clean and safe storage space is one of the most powerful. When individuals or businesses need space to store their property, Self Storage provides a convenient and economical way to solve their storage problems. Unfortunately, this positive benefit to the community is often offset by the negative perceptions of the business that arise from the forced sale of stored property due to tenant rent defaults.

To balance such negative perceptions, many self storage operators do a wonderful job of taking positive and active roles in their communities by hosting civic events, donating space to local police or fire departments or acting as local drop offs for contributions. There are abundant stories about how self storage operators use their facilities to help their local communities. Such stories are a positive testament to the types of people and companies that make up the self storage industry.

There is a now a new way for self storage operators to give back. It’s called “Charity Storage”. Charity Storage is a program where “participating storage operators dedicate a storage unit from inventory as a collection point for donated goods. Departing tenants, current tenants, auction buyers, and local residents and businesses can donate items to the Charity Storage Unit and receive a tax deductible receipt. When the storage facility holds a public auction, the Charity Storage Unit is sold and the revenue allocated to local and national charities.” The stated mission of Charity Storage is simple: “To use the storage industry’s under-utilized assets to give back to the communities supporting local operators.” (Visit

From a legal perspective, the contributors are entitled to receive a tax deduction for the goods provided, just as they would if they donated the goods to Goodwill or the Salvation Army (Charity Storage provides the tax forms and is designated as a 501(c)(3) charity). When the unit is sold, the storage operator has the ability to direct a portion of the value received from the sale to the charity of their choice – which means the benefits of the program can be seen on both a local and national level. Also, by including Charity Storage Units in regular lien sales, it hopefully will send the message that not all lien sales are bad – and are only the result of economic misfortune. Sometimes lien sales can be held to help others.

But whether it is by working with Charity Storage, by hosting a charitable event at your facility or by simply donating funds to help local charities, all businesses need to recognize their obligation to give back. Charity Storage has just created a way to make it easier for more operators to participate.