Self-storage tenants are donating approximately $4,000 per month to Kure It Cancer Research, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding kidney and other cancer research, through 40 participating US Storage Centers facilities and affiliated properties. The self-storage operator has raised more than $220,000 since rolling out a formal donation program in 2009.
Kure It was launched by Barry Hoeven, owner of US Storage Centers, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1998. In April 2007, Hoeven partnered with cancer center City of Hope to create the Kure It! Kidney Cancer Research Fund, which raised more than $400,000. Kure It Inc. was established in January 2010. Its goal is to be the leader in granting funds to cancer researchers investigating progressive treatments and cures. To date the organization has raised more than $1 million for the cause.
Kure It has made a difference for everyone involved, Hoeven said. It has also allowed US Storage Centers and other owner/operators to engage customers and build relationships on levels other than self-storage. Like-mindedness and common interest in charitable service often prompts tenants to rent from companies participating in raising money for Kure It.
US Storage Centers runs an organized program in which tenants can make voluntary donations to Kure It at it self-storage locations or through its facility websites. Customers can pay online or in person, and can choose to add a small, recurring donation to their monthly rent.
We have received so much positive feedback from tenants and employees who have been impacted by cancer, said Karen Jones, Kure It director. Tenants appreciate storing with a company with a culture of giving back. Introducing Kure It to tenants opens a dialogue and provides a connection between staff and tenants.
US Storage Centers manages the flow of donations through its SiteLink property-management software from SMD Software Inc. Features built into SiteLink enable self-storage operators to track charitable donations and administer the program. The software processes contributions automatically and is designed to reduce extra work for storage site managers. A reporting function also clearly separates donations from other payments to assist with accounting procedures and program tracking.