9 Do’s And Don’ts Of Donating Items To Charity

Apr 13 2022
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We’ve got a couple of great places for donating in our small town. One of them is the local animal shelter that holds a HUGE garage sale twice a year of all of the donations from locals. Its an absolutely wonderful way to contribute especially when contributing cash isn’t an option. Another thing I always urge people is to contribute by signing up for smile.amazon.com – every purchase you make Amazon gives a donation to your selected charity.

Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!
(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

It’s said that being able to help other people in need can be one of the best feelings in the world. One popular way you can help and show kindness to people is by donating to charity. Aside from being able to help others, this is also an opportunity for you to declutter, downsize, and eliminate items you don’t need or use anymore. What’s more, donating is also a sustainable and eco-friendly way of dealing with your old items. Instead of dumping them in landfills, you’re giving your old but reusable things a new home or owner.  

However, just because you’re donating old stuff doesn’t necessarily mean you should give away everything, including damaged items and the like.

If you’ve experienced volunteering for charitable organizations that accept donations, you’ll be surprised how some people would donate items that are already broken, stained, or ripped. Keep in mind that the recipients of your donations should be treated with care and compassion. Moreover, donating inappropriate items will only cost time, money, and energy for the recipient organization as they need to weed out the objects that can’t be used.  

If you want your donations to have a real impact on the lives of the recipients, you need to do it right. Here are the nine do’s and don’ts you need to remember when donating to charity.  

  1. Do Check Around The House For Donatable Items

Take your time to check around the house for donatable items.

Perhaps you have an extra coffee table taking up your space or a spare couch lying in your basement. Or maybe your closet is already overloaded, and you wish to downsize it. Additionally, pay closer attention to things you haven’t used for a long time.

For example, you may have two fruit blenders in the kitchen and you rarely use the other one. In that case, you can donate the unused gadget. The fact that you haven’t used them only means you probably won’t need them anymore, and other people may have better use for them. 

  1. Don’t Drop Off Items Outside The Charity

When donating, never drop off your boxes outside, especially when the charity is closed. Otherwise, you’re only leaving your things vulnerable to thieves. Preferably, make a call in advance to your chosen charity and tell them about your upcoming visit.

Meanwhile, if you don’t have the time to deliver or drop off the boxes by yourself during their opening hours, you can find yourself a charity organization who will pick up donations for free. This way, you can ensure that your donated items will fall into the right hands.

Additionally, you can also avail of their free donation pick-up service if you’re planning to donate bulky or heavy furniture pieces and don’t have the transportation to deliver them yourself.

  1. Don’t Donate Items That Aren’t Useful

Not all things you don’t use can be used by other people. So, use your best judgment and inspect those items you’re planning to donate. For instance, your old jeans with big holes may look fashionable to you. But they may not be useful, especially for people who need clothes to warm themselves. 

To make it easier for you to decide on an item’s utility, try to imagine if you’re giving that item to someone as a present. If you think that object’s not something you would ever gift to someone, it probably means that item isn’t useful or not fit for donation.

  1. Do Call The Organization About Their Needs Or Preferred Donation

Although most charities will accept any kind of donation, it’s also a good idea to call your selected organization and find out which items they need the most. Ask if they’d like to accept more clothes or perhaps furniture pieces and old appliances are much more in demand. Their donation needs usually depend on their cause. 

Case in point, if you’re donating to a local hospital, they may need more blankets and pillows. If you’re contributing to a dog shelter, they may need more dog food and other dog supplies. Ultimately, knowing the charity’s preferences will serve as your guide when looking for donatable items in your house that will significantly impact the recipients.

  1. Don’t Donate Items They Won’t Need

Even if you’re donating something that’s still in good condition, the charity wouldn’t be able to use it if they don’t need it. For example, donating books to a local hospital wouldn’t make sense. If you wish your donation to really help the organization, you can call them and find out which items do they take or not. If you’re donating computers or old appliances, ask them first and see if they accept such things. 

  1. Do Test Appliances Or Electronics Before Donating Them

If you’re donating appliances or any electronic device, test them first and see if they’re still working. If it doesn’t work, have it repaired or serviced before dropping it off at charity. Plus, don’t forget to include other things that the appliance or electronics may need to work, such as power cords.

  1. Do Inspect Everything Thoroughly

If you’re planning to donate clothes or other wearable items, take your time to inspect each item for any defect or damage. Go through the pockets to see that you haven’t left anything. If some are stained, put them in the laundry to keep the clothes fresh and clean. Avoid donating clothes that are already ripped unless you take them to a professional tailor to have them repaired and fixed. If you see a missing button on one of your shirts, you can sew a button if you have extra time.

Similarly, avoid donating furniture pieces that are already broken or damaged. If you intend to donate them, you can have them repaired first to make them usable before giving them to charity.

  1. Do Consider Hosting A Yard Or Garage Sale

Aside from donating, you can also use your old and unwanted items for your yard or garage sale. A yard/garage sale is also an effective way to get rid of your things, especially when you’re about to move houses. Tell your friends or relatives about your yard/garage sale and see if they’re interested in buying your used items. Once you’re able to sell everything, you can donate your earned cash to the charities you support. 

  1. Don’t Ever Donate Any Of These Items

Even if they’re usable and in good condition, some items are just simply not best for donation. These items may include:

  • Used undergarments;
  • Old paint cans or chemicals;
  • Explosive materials or dangerous weapons;
  • Broken dishes that were glued together;
  • Moldy books;
  • Toys or gadgets with leaky battery acid; and
  • Old medicines.

Overall, avoid donating items that are dangerous, toxic, unhealthy, or unhygienic for the recipients.

Wrapping Up

Remember, the goal of donating is to give the recipients some items that they consider a blessing and that they can use in their daily lives. So, if you wish your donations to make a positive impact and greatly help the recipients’ lives, don’t forget to go through this list and ensure you’re donating responsibly.

We've got a couple of great places for donating in our small town. One of them is the local animal shelter that holds a HUGE garage sale
(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

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