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Giving Your Used Goods to Charity: Does it All Get Used?

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 20 Nov 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Charity Non-profit Charities Charitable

Giving to charity shops is an excellent way of ensuring that unwanted items get re-used, and also a great way to make a charitable contribution at the same time - the money made from donations to charity shops goes towards meeting the charities’ aims. Charities are non-profit organisations, so all the money that they make is used for running the charity and helping its target group.

Charitable Giving: Where to Donate

There are around 7,000 charity shops in the UK, and most towns and cities have them, usually located in centres and busy areas.

Charities focus on a particular cause - PDSA for example provides money for pets who need to see vets, while Mind funds help and support for those with mental health issues. Some people have an interest in particular causes and choose to donate their goods to them to support the charity.

For those that want to donate to any charity it can be worth ringing round to find out if they are in need of any particular goods. Thiss will make sure that all donations go to their best charitable home. However, many people are pushed for time and may not have transport, so just giving to the nearest charity shops is still an excellent way of making a charitable donation.

The local Yellow Pages should list all the charity shops in the area, as does the Association of Charity Shops.

Giving to Charity Shops: What to Give

Some charity shops specialise these days, for example selling furniture or electrical goods. Most charity shops sell the following:

  • Clothes
  • Books
  • CDs
  • Records
  • Tapes
  • Homeware (Crockery, pots, ornaments)
  • Bed linen
  • Toys

If you’re not sure whether a charity shop would sell or accept a particular item, it’s always worth ringing up first.

The better the condition of goods given to a charity shop, the more likely they are to sell. Clothes should always be washed before they are donated. If they need fixing up slightly, for example a seam has come away or a button is missing, it’s worth fixing this up before donation. Give crockery and books etc. a quick wipe as well.

If an item is not in top condition but is still saleable, just make a note of the problem, for example that a piece of a jigsaw is missing or that a cup from a tea set is chipped. It’s best the label the box clearly and then the charity shop staff can decide what’s best.

Dropping Off Charity Shop Donations

If you are taking goods to a charity shop yourself be aware that because many charity shops staff are volunteers, the shops don’t always open as many hours as other shops. It’s best to check when you’re passing or ring ahead. If the charity shop is closed, many shops request that goods are not left outside the shop. Although they appreciate all charitable donations, discarded goods are at risk of being stolen, littered around the street or causing a fire hazard.

Many charity shops have the ability to collect goods at certain times of the week. This can be useful for heavy or bulky goods such as furniture. Other charities operate a door-to-door sack scheme where they will deliver bin bags to houses, then collect them a week or so later, when they have hopefully been filled with goods to donate.

Unsold Charity Shop Goods

Obviously not every single item in a charity shop will sell. So, what happens to these items?

Unsold items are usually donated to third world countries or sent to be recycled or refurbished in the correct way. Check with a charity shop before you donate if you’re worried but charities won’t usually send goods to landfill.

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@loopyloo. Unfortunately we cannot give individual/specific business advice like this. But it sounds like a good idea, why not speak with your local business start up organisations. You council will be able to point you in the right direction.
GreenUsesForWaste - 21-Nov-14 @ 12:19 PM
I am thinking about a kind of swap shop. With weekly or monthly auctions for higher end goods. This would help with costs. It would be like the people's charity. I would like to know if it could work.
loopyloo - 20-Nov-14 @ 10:14 AM
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