With the new year upon us, you are probably getting ready to purge and donate some old and unused items. Instead of taking your items to a generic thrift store, being a good giver to charity involves taking time to plan and think through which organizations are most in need of your donations. Here are some great tips on being a good giver to charity and helping with specific needs:
SET UP A DONATION CENTER IN YOUR HOME
For starters, whether it be in your closet, your garage, or in the guest room, set up your own mini donation center. You can organize the items in piles according to the intended destination. When the area designated as your donation center is full, this signals to you that it is time to make some drop off trips. Having a donation center in your home is also a great way to ensure that items do not lay in piles around your home or make it back into your drawers and closets.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
To be a good giver to charity, some more thought and work are involved at the front end because you must know your charitable organizations and their specific needs. Whether it is by word of mouth, checking out websites, calling, or visiting location sites, do your research! Find out what resources they need and will use. This research will ensure that those most in need of the specific resources you have to give will receive the donations. There are also many items you may not think of being needed. For example, towels that you may think of just throwing away, are very much appreciated by the SPCA. Oftentimes websites are great places to find all the information about the charity – but calling to confirm is always a great idea! If you are in the local Richmond, VA area, we have a great resource for you: Donation Centers and Consignment Stores in Central Virginia.
GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY
Although it does take more planning and effort, it really is a wonderful thing to be mindful of the local needs in your area. This allows you to give back to your community and helps items to be better reused and recycled in your own area. Not all charitable organizations can take or are in need of the same items. For example, not all charities take sheets or large appliances and furniture. However, Caritas, is very much in need of sheets and furniture that is in good condition. This is because the purpose of this Richmond-based nonprofit is to provide assistance to individuals and families dealing with the crisis of homelessness and/or addiction. They need these specific items in order to set up individuals and families in new living quarters. If you are in the local RVA area then this is a great resource for you. If not, then be sure to check out the local charities in your area.
BE A GOOD STEWARD
Remember that charitable organizations use their own resources to sort through donations they receive. It costs them time and money to personally pull items they cannot use and then more manpower and resources to find ways of disposing of these unusable items. This is one of the ways you can be a good donator – saving these organizations time and money by knowing what they actually need. One great example of this is with donations to the food bank. You may have quite a stash after Christmas to donate. Although most items are welcome by your local food pantries, there are definitely parameters around the donations. We have a great article on the Surprising Dos and Don’t of Food Donations to assist you with this.
COMPILE A LIST AND KEEP IT HANDY
Once you do your research and start compiling a list of charitable organizations, keep that list handy. Having this list will help you keep charities in mind throughout the year as you discard and purge items in your home. You will see certain items and will have the charity in need of that item come to mind. Once you do your research, you will be surprised at the needs you learn about in your own community. Did you know that the Children’s Museum of Richmond takes toilet paper rolls and egg cartons? These are just two of the interesting items on their list! If you are in the local RVA area, they are a great organization support – they give back so much to the community! Have fun with this and not only let it inspire you, but others as well! Become a resource and pass the information onto others.
WORK TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS
It may seem a little overwhelming to commit to taking your donations to different locations. You can streamline the drop off process by working together with friends. All of you can work together and plan a drop-off event where each person is responsible for taking the group’s items to a specific location drop-off. Combining your resources will save everyone a lot of time. Or you could decide to focus together with a group of friends on a specific area to declutter. We have a great blog post on decluttering your closet for Dress for Success. This is another fabulous charitable organization to support in the Richmond area. Working with friends definitely allows everyone to combine donations and resources to support the where it is needed the most.
What are some of your favorite charitable organizations to give to? Let us know! Don’t forget to check out our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook if you have any questions. We always want to hear from you and would love to know about which charitable organizations are important to you!