It is a sad fact that 1 in 3 U.S. families report struggling to afford diapers for their babies. The reality for some parents who are forced use one diaper for their baby for days at a time, or scrape out and re-use disposable diapers or use items such as a plastic bag when unable to purchase enough diapers for their child underscores the dramatic effect of diaper need.
Diaper need affects the entire family. Prolonged use of soiled diapers makes children more susceptible to skin and urinary tract infections. Discomfort from wearing a soiled diaper causes children to cry more often and wake more frequently at night, disrupting sleep and increasing parental stress. Low-income mothers struggling with diaper need are more likely to suffer poor mental health than mothers who do not struggle with diaper need.
Diapers can cost $70 - $80 per month and represent a significant cost barrier to a new mother. There is no government program that provides diapers as a basic need for babies, and diapers cannot be purchased with government aid programs (WIC, ADC, etc.).
The Need by the Numbers
Bottoms Up is intent on serving 23 counties in the state of Ohio through 2021. To satisfy 100% of the diaper need an all 23 counties would take more than 10,000,000 diapers. At a current average cost of $0.178 per diaper, that would cost $1,780,000.
Mission Statement of Bottoms Up Diaper Drive
Bottoms Up Diaper Drive partners with local social service agencies by providing free diapers for distribution to low-income families, while raising awareness of the basic health need for diapers.
End diaper need in the geography served by Bottoms Up Diaper Drive, including Pickerington/Violet Township.
Bottoms Up Diaper Drive is distributing more than 62,000 diapers a month to nearly 90 different community partner agencies in 12 Ohio counties (Franklin, Fairfield, Delaware, Licking, Hocking, Perry, Vinton, Jackson, Ross, Pike, Athens, and Scioto). Bottoms Up has a logistics operation that operates five warehouses, delivers diapers to community partners using volunteer drivers in three organization-owned vehicles, and purchases diapers in pallet and truckload quantities.
In 2021, Bottoms Up will distribute more than 1 Million diapers to the community partner agencies and expand into more Ohio counties. The growth trajectory, given geographic expansion, will continue its upward path well beyond 2021. The ability to keep pace with growth is solely dependent on financial sustainability and community involvement in that sustainability, as well as heightened public awareness of diaper need.
How Bottoms Up Works
The plan is to have roughly 50% of all diapers distributed come from diaper drives conducted by schools, churches, businesses, and fraternal organizations. The remaining (roughly) 50% are purchased through funds donated by individuals, companies, and grant-making entities. COVID has disrupted that plan significantly and currently, Bottoms Up is purchasing roughly 90% of the diapers distributed, while approximately 10% are being donated.
Diapers are stored in the five climate-controlled warehouses operated by Bottoms Up for distribution to community agency partners that are responsible for some basic reporting (families served, diaper sizes and quantities distributed, etc.). Two of the three warehouses are donated space.
Constituent relationship management: Salesforce NPSP (Nonprofit Success Pack)
E-mail, Calendaring, Collaboration: Google G-Suite
Creative Design: Canva
Inventory Control: Diaper Base
Bottoms Up employs two (2) people, a President/director of operations/administration, and a fundraising coordinator and utilizes volunteers to deliver diapers and perform various administrative tasks (data entry, inventory, etc.). Bottoms Up has a four-member Board of Directors which meets every two months, is incorporated in the state of Ohio, and has a 501(c)3 status with the Internal Revenue Service.
Bottoms Up utilizes free media (church bulletins, Christian radio, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) to increase awareness of diaper need and how the mission of Bottoms Up meets that need. These channels of communication also serve well as new donor acquisition mechanisms.
Most of the growth for Bottoms Up in 2021 will likely be geographic, but growth will be determined by community dedication and involvement. That is, Bottoms Up will not be in a position to fund the distribution of diapers to a county unless that community supplies the bulk of the financial resources for Bottoms Up to have a presence there.
There is already some indication that Ross County is desirous of Bottoms Up’s involvement, but there have been no serious conversations about expansion to that county.
Accounting for the organization is done by an independent accounting firm (Delaney & Co.), following generally accepted accounting principles.
Cost containment has been and will be a primary concern/objective through 2021 and beyond. Bottoms up intends to “tithe” a percentage of income in 2021 to a long-term sustainability fund in order to ensure the organization’s livelihood past the founders’ involvement.
Measuring Success/Accounting Opportunities for Improvement
Statistical analysis in this organization is obvious. Goals are set for the development staff (250 monthly contributors by the end of Q1, for instance), the operations staff (distribute 1,000,000 diapers in 2021), and the overall organization (meet budgetary goals, sustain supply/demand balance, etc.).
Through the use of technology (Salesforce, e.g.) monitoring performance to plan on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis is possible. Quarterly performance reviews will occur through 2021, then backing down to semi-annually (and as needed) into 2022.
Supply Chain Management
The supply chain for Bottoms Up has stabilized after some instability through parts of 2020. Three vendors comprise the suppliers for Bottoms Up (McKesson, Medline, and Richard Owens). In 2021, consistent attention to developing relationships with new and more cost-effective suppliers (P&G, the National Diaper Bank Network, Kimberly Clark, etc.) will be a focus.
Additionally, building on the (already good) relationship with Amazon will be a key component in the supply chain partnership matrix.