DOs and DON’Ts for Donating Goods to Charity

Clothing donations

Have you ever considered clearing out the clutter you have around the house with a Red Cross clothing pick up service? We know what you’re probably thinking…”Red Cross clothing pick up service? I thought the Red Cross was for blood donations and money!”

In reality, the Red Cross is instrumental in meeting a wide range of needs when disaster strikes across the globe. Some of those needs are met with your blood donation. Some of those needs are met with your cash donation. And some of those needs are met with their Red Cross clothing pick up program.

When you use a Red Cross clothing pick up service, you’re able to clear out the unneeded clutter in your home, without even leaving your drive way. From there, the Red Cross uses your goods to take care of people in need. Your unneeded items meet a need and get a second life, rather than collecting dust in your home until you threw them away and they ended up in a landfill. That’s what we call a win, win, win situation my friend.

However, there’s a right and a wrong way to make used clothing donations. Whether you’re making American Red Cross donations, or you donate clothing to any other equally valid organization, please remember our list of DOs and DON’Ts:

DOs and DON’Ts for Donating Goods to Charity

  1. DO Group Similar Items Together

    The volunteers who work in the receiving center at the Red Cross, or any other organization that you give your goods to, sort through thousands and thousands of bags of goods per day. It’s their responsibility to figure out what is suitable to be reused or sold in their thrift store, and what should be recycled.

    Now, imagine that those thousands of bags were actually filled with jigsaw puzzle pieces that created one big picture, but you didn’t know what that picture was. When you put the bottom to the pot in this box and the lid to it in that box over there, and one flip flop here and the pair in another bag down the way, the volunteers who have to sort out your stuff are essentially doing a jigsaw puzzle without any reference picture. They don’t even know if you included both shoes in any of the bags. As you can imagine, this requires more effort than value they can really get from your donation.

    Instead, take just a few extra minutes while you’re boxing up your goods and attach like items together with a rubber band or tape. While we’re on the subject, it makes it a lot easier on the sorters if you put all the kitchen items together in a single box, and all the clothing items together and so on. Then, you’ve done the hard part of the jigsaw puzzle for the volunteers.
  2. DON’T Donate Trash

    Whether the organization you’re giving to is giving your goods directly to families in need, or selling them in a thrift store and using the cash to further their purpose, they can’t do anything with items that are broken or too worn out to be used. In these cases, the volunteers usually have to discard the broken and worn out items. In fact, you pay a trash service to come pick up your garbage. When you give unusable items to a Red Cross clothing pick up program, you’re literally treating them like a free trash service.

    If your unwanted items are not usable, look for an organization that recycles them for another purpose instead of an organization like the Red Cross that wouldn’t be able to reuse them.

  3. DO Treat Fragile Items as You Would if You Were Moving.

    As we mentioned above, items that are broken don’t really serve any purpose for a charity like Red Cross. If an item is in good shape when you turn it over to the donation pick up workers, but breaks before it makes it to the donation center, it serves as little purpose as if it were broken to begin with. To protect your donated items and ensure they do the most good, wrap breakable items in news paper or grocery bags or bubble tape or another protective barrier and write, “Handle with Care!” on the exterior.

Do you have questions or comments? Share below!

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