3 Tips When Donating Items To Charity

16 07 2009

You know the routine…You look up one day and decide that you have too much stuff in your apartment/house and something must go! Maybe you’ll try and give the items away to family and friends. OR you may decide just to donate it to a charity thrift store. While you may think that thrift stores and consignment shops should just take whatever you give them, I’m here to warn you that is NOT the case. As a person who tried to donate a wooden table with a chipped top and a sofa with snagged ends, I want to give you a little advice on donating personal items to charitable stores.

Here are three super simple tips for donating:

1. Check the store’s website to see what they can and cannot accept. You’d be surprised at some of the things that can’t be donated. I once tried to give away plastic hangers and college textbooks and was denied! I couldn’t believe it. So, the hangers are still clogging the closet and the books are in a box until I find a good home for them.

2. Check to make sure that clothes aren’t dirty, ripped, or soiled. When the staff is sorting through the clothes, any damaged (or smelly) clothes are thrown out because they don’t have the resources to wash or repair each item. Remember, the goal is to get the goods immediately on the sales floor and make some moolah!

3. Make sure that you get a receipt for the value of the items. Yes, of course, most of us donate out of the kindness of our hearts, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of the tax benefits. When you donate items to a thrift store run by a charitable 501(c)3 organization, you can deduct the “fair market value” of the items when you prepare your taxes. “Fair market value” essentially means that you estimate the value of that item today. So, don’t list your 2000 Gap blouse with the missing button at the price you paid, especially since we all know it’s not worth that anymore! For more guidance, ask your accountant or visit irs.gov!

Okay, so you’ve given your stuff away and are probably wondering what to do with the unacceptables. Well, my suggestion is to look around for nonprofits or shelters that take items in and give them away, not sell them. And, if that doesn’t work, then just take them to the trash. I ended up giving my chipped table to the junk man. Hey, sometimes it happens…As long as you tried to donate, that’s all that counts in my opinion!





One response

16 07 2009
Thursday Highlights « ServeNext.org Blog

[…] The Fabulous Giver posted a post entitled “3 Tips When Donating Items to Charity.” This post includes three must-know tips when putting together items t0 donate to […]

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