by Emily Holden
People who want to give but may not have the funds are finding other ways to support the causes and organizations who serve others at the holidays. Sometimes giving money is just not an option and new and gently used items can be just as helpful. Here are things to know about donating used goods, from Charity Navigator.
Determine whether the items are useful.
Clothing, household items, books and shoes may be gently-used but things like personal care items must be brand new for health and safety reasons. That means no opened bottles of lotion or makeup. Put yourself in the recipient’s position: If you wouldn’t wear the jeans with holes in the knees, chances are they wouldn’t either. Don’t donate anything that is unusable or beyond repair.
Start locally and find the right organization.
Additional transportation reduces the impact of your donation so avoid unnecessary travel to donation sites. Chances are you can find a charity right in your own neighborhood. Begin by looking in your local community for a charity that will accept your items. Schools, churches and government buildings or office buildings often act as collection centers for various causes and agencies.
Search to find a particular cause.
Organizations like Charity Navigator can help you find specific charities or organizations such as your local Salvation Army office. Log onto charitynavigator.org and you can search for specific groups looking for the items you wish to donate.
Consider selling items and donating the money to charity.
Selling things you own and contributing proceeds to a charity gives the recipient the greatest flexibility when it comes to choosing what it needs most. Also, by selling the items yourself, you eliminate any for-profit middle man that might take a cut of the donation. Great places to sell your items include eBay and Craig’s List. You may also consider holding a multifamily yard sale and donating proceeds to a charity.