5 Things to Do Before Donating

donating bin

Donating household items, gently used clothes, canned and boxed foods, and other items is a rewarding way to give back to your community. There is no end to the list of charities and donation centers both locally and nationwide that are grateful for your donations. Furthermore, donating items that are still functional, in good condition, and enjoyable for others can also open up lines of communication among your neighborhood. This simple act can inspire a whole butterfly effect of change in your hometown. Charity Dispatcher is here to help you learn about all the elements of donating to local charities. One topic which is essential to consider is how to prepare your items for donation. Here are five things you should do before contributing anything to a local donation center or charity. 

Make Sure You Can Donate The Items

Once you have a collection of items you would like to donate; the next step is to make sure you can donate them and find out where. Most items will be accepted at a local charity as long as they are still in working condition, not too worn out, and are sanitary. Many things that people think cannot be donated are wonderful to give to others and might even be in high demand. You can donate popular items that include electronics, clothes, furniture, stuffed animals, household items (kitchen, bathroom, living room decor), kitchen utensils, and even old musical instruments.

The hardest part of the process is finding where you can take these items locally or looking up nationwide charities that accept mail-in donations. It may be helpful to create a list or spreadsheet where you can track items you want to donate, where you can drop them off, and other notes. This list will come in handy as you begin to prepare the following stages of your donation. 

It also never hurts to ask family, friends, and neighbors for advice or help; you never know who might have a lead for an item you wish to donate. Finally, if you cannot donate something, make sure to try and give it to someone you know, sell it in a garage sale, or recycle it instead of disposing of it in the garbage.

Clean and Disinfect

Secondly, as you prepare to donate your items, you should clean and disinfect them as much as possible. Some things are easier to clean than others. Clothing should be washed and folded neatly for donation. Stuffed animals may need to be hand-washed, and others are not washable. Always make sure to read tag and label instructions. Furniture can be vacuumed, steam-cleaned, or at the very least freshened up with a non-scented fabric freshener. Other furniture items can also be polished and dusted with environmentally friendly wood polish. You can wipe down electronics with disinfecting wipes or a safe sanitizing solution. It is crucial to be considerate when donating items; the health and safety of the future owners are something you should respect. Never donate anything that is grimy, dirty, or unsanitary. 


Recruit Friends, Family, & Neighbors

Charities are not only about helping those in need. They are also about creating and cultivating a deep sense of community. One reason donating to a local charity is a wonderful idea is because it opens up the chance to widen your sense of community. As you begin to donate, why not recruit family, friends, and neighbors? Perhaps you will make a new friend, catch up with old friends, or even connect with people you might otherwise never have met. In this way, your community can unite over a shared goal to help one another. You could run a neighborhood, work, school, or family donation drive, where you all collectively donate items together. Another option would be to throw a block party. Inspire change in others, and don’t let your donations be a solo effort. Reaching out to others is the cornerstone of charity’s missions, after all. 

Donate Money

Another option beyond donating personal belongings and household items is to donate money to a charity. Donating money allows charities and local organizations to use the funds to fulfill whatever need is most lacking. Donating items is a wonderful way to give back, but sometimes monetary gifts can have an even more significant impact on a struggling non-profit. Consider this option in conjunction with or in lieu of donating your belongings. Any amount helps, so never feels pressured to give more than you can manage. You can also donate more later as your paycheck comes through or funds are more flexible in your household. 

Start Your Charity to Continue Donating

This may seem daunting, but it is achievable. If you have items to donate that local charities don’t accept, you could start your own charity. Perhaps you have a passion for some specific types of donations, such as providing local homeless shelters with food and basic hygiene supplies. Whatever your love is, one viable option is to start your non-profit donation center and help your community fulfill a growing need. Charity Dispatcher is an excellent resource for more information regarding donating to charities and thinking about the building blocks for creating your own. We are here to provide you with any information you may need and can answer your questions. Let us help you change the world one donation at a time!