Yesterday, I wrote (dot #3945) about vending machines that are being repurposed to dispense public health items. Another less-traditional item being distributed in this way is women’s menstrual hygiene products.
One study showed that nearly one in five women is unable to afford the tampons or sanitary pads they need on a regular basis. To address this “period poverty,” nonprofit organizations such as the Red Basket Project work to raise funds and place feminine hygiene products in public restrooms. These supplies are placed, fittingly, in a red basket and are free for those in need to take. Other public entities distribute the products through free vending machines.
While the results are the same, the two methods have a markedly different feel — one is of hospitality and a caring community while the machine dispenser feels institutional and less of a gift. It’s a minor distinction to be sure, and if you were in need of supplies you may not notice or care how you obtained them, but somewhere along the line organizations made an intentional choice of how to provide this service.
When you are putting something out into the world — whether it be a product, service, giveaway, or idea — think not only of the distribution method but how you want your audience to feel about receiving it. Never discount the emotional aspect of what you offer.