April 4, 2016
Spring is here! Along with warmer weather, blooming flowers, and the beginning of baseball season comes another tradition: Spring Cleaning.
It is tempting to get rid of excess stuff that has accumulated by donating it to charity. After all, you don’t need it anymore! However, not every charity is ready, willing, and able to accept noncash donations, and often the things people want to give away hold little value to a nonprofit; after all, the would-be donor is trying to get rid of stuff.
So, how can an informed donor clean up the house and give away noncash items to charity while still remaining respectful of the charity’s needs?
Cash is King!
In most instances, a cash donation is far superior to a noncash one (especially when responding to disasters). Monetary donations give charities the flexibility to spend on what they need, rather than forcing them to use items that may not be ideal. One solution is to hold a garage or yard sale to convert items to cash first, and then donate the money to the charity directly.
Always remember to think locally first - it makes little sense for either you or the charity to travel long distances hauling bulky items that might not even be useful to the charity.
Be sure to contact the charity first before showing up with a bunch of items you wish to donate. Let them know what you have to offer, so that they can decide if the donation is something they find useful.
Consider Tax Implications
There are specific IRS rules for the tax deductions of noncash donations. Please see our Tips For Donors page about the tax benefits of giving.
Here are some examples of highly-rated, organizations who accept noncash donations:
Books For Africa - Many organizations are in need of reading materials for underserved populations. Books For Africa sends books of all types overseas to those who need them.
Feeding America - Food banks depend on the public to be able to provide their services.
Church World Service - This charity has collected emergency relief items like blankets for Syrian refugees relocating to the cities like Jersey City.
Goodwill Industries of Denver - Goodwill’s model is based on resale of donated goods, which provides both revenue and an opportunity for employment for their constituents.
Shoes and Clothes for Kids - When donating clothing, it often helps to find an organization whose model is based in clothing donations, such as this children’s clothing charity.
The above charities are only a small sample of the organizations who receive noncash donations. Check out our advanced search tool to find nearby organizations, and to search by mission to find the right charity for your noncash item. Each charity’s profile page includes contact information, so you can follow up directly with any charity you wish to make a noncash donation.
Infographic: 4 Simple Questions for Noncash Donations
Not all trash is another man's treasure! Ask these four questions before donating that noncash item.