Where to Donate: Organizations Aside from Goodwill

bags-boxes donate

Cleaning the house, wanting to purge all your unused belongings, maybe you want to donate instead of sell because it’s easier and it’ll warm your heart a little?

I’ve been there. Going through my room or home once a year or, worse, once every couple years and bagging up all the items I finally felt I could part with. Then I’d throw them in my car and drop them off at Goodwill. Finally one day as I was going through my jewelry, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to just throw these in a bag and send them to Goodwill. This is really nice, cute jewelry that I want to give a girl, not have her buy from Goodwill.”

Goodwill does employ those who have faced hardships, which is great, but I am not comfortable with the idea of my items being re-sold. Many of my donations are in great condition and I want someone facing hardships to be given my items, not have to spend money on them. So, I went Google searching to find where else I could donate, and lo and behold my donating world opened up.

Plus, all items and shipping are tax deductible!

Note about shipping: When shipping items over 2lbs, use USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes (up to 70lbs) for a cheaper option. You can pick boxes up for FREE from any USPS or have a bunch sent directly to your door (also FREE)! Visit here. Have/need larger boxes than the USPS Flat Rate? Then best to ship through UPS or FedEx. Some charities require mail through UPS or FedEx, anyways.

USPS boxes donate

Want to de-clutter your house, but don’t know where to start? Try reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo to help you out. My friends rave about this book! Then feel better and donate all your purged belongings to great causes!

***Please PLEASE PLEASE read each sites’ list of accepted items AND items not accepted, items needed most, and packaging and shipping instructions. Most of these organizations run on volunteers and donations, so storage and shipping are very important to them. Please read and follow their guidelines before mailing or dropping off items.***

Below is a list of organizations divided by the specific item categories they need/accept (will be constantly updated!):

General

Make a point to look up charities around your city! You’ll be able to save on shipping and may be able to donate larger items like furniture and electronics. I’ll list some metro areas here, but I encourage you to look some up!

  • American Kidney Services (Atlanta Area): men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, wedding dresses, shoes and accessories, electronics (i.e. televisions, CD players, and DVD players), cookware and serving utensils, silverware and glassware, small appliances, decorative items, drapes and linens, small furniture, books, toys, tools, and more!

What they do:  They strive to help kidney disease sufferers who are in financial need. AKS, in conjunction with American Kidney Fund, takes used clothing donations and used household goods and turns them into direct monetary support for patients struggling to pay bills and rent because the cost of their medical care and dialysis is absorbing all of their funds.

  • Second Chance (San Diego Area): Men and Women’s professional clothing (i.e. interview appropriate suits/dresswear); household items/furniture/appliances: bedding, beds, kitchenware, refrigerators, microwaves, dishes, etc.; tools, equipment and supplies: weed whackers, shovels, brooms, paint rollers, sunscreen, paint, garbage bags, gloves, cleansers, etc; and new deodorant for men/women, feminine products such as Kotex and Tampax, hair brushes & combs, toothpaste/toothbrushes, bus passes/tokens, disposable razors, bath towels, laundry detergent. Please check their website for more info on items they accept/don’t accept. *Not accepting clothing at this time*

What they do: “Disrupting the cycles of incarceration and poverty by helping people find their way to self-sufficiency.” They provide a job center, job readiness training, youth programs, and housing for those seeking a second chance on life or have fallen into hard times.

Clothes

What they do: Distribute clothes both via direct donations to people in need and by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Combined with Soles4Souls.

  • Blue Jeans Go Green: All things denim (local stores are known to run promotions, offering discounts for donating denim!)

What they do: Collect denim across the country and upcycle it into UltraTouchTMDenim Insulation, providing a portion to communities in need each year. (Super cool reuse of materials!!!)

Women

What they do: They work to decrease the number of bras entering our landfills, while providing substantial social benefits to women and girls in need.

  • Bras for a Cause: New and used bras, lingerie, swimsuits, slips, camisoles, and breast cancer survivor items such as wigs, prosthetic breast inserts, mastectomy bras, etc.

What they do: They make sure that your donation reaches the right place at the right time for the right person. They offer bra support for cancer survivor women in desperate situations.

  • Dress For Success: Gently-used clothes and professional attire (San Diego store NOT accepting clothing at this time)

What they do: Empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

  • Career Wardrobe: matching business suits (skirt or pant)—sizes from 0 to 16+ are in demand!, separates: skirts, pants, blazers, blouses, “Casual Friday” outfits, gently worn shoes, accessories (purses, handbags/briefcases, jewelry), new/unused pantyhose (all sizes), coats and formal wear, new/unused beauty products, toiletries and make-up, Scrubs, white tops/blouses; black, navy, and tan bottoms; polo shirts; black or white shoes, clogs, or sneakers; steel-toed boots; maternity wear—all sizes and styles

What they do: They use clothing and professional development to empower unemployed individuals to work.  The Boutique, Set up by Career Wardrobe, provides professional clothing to individuals in transition.  Job seekers can shop at no cost with a referral or for a small fee if they are not receiving government assistance.  The Boutique is also open to public where shoppers can find great deals with all sales supporting our services.

  • Brides Across America: Gently-used wedding gowns less than 5 years old. Also, veils, tiaras, and accessories.

What they do: Hosts a free event called Brides Across America’s Nationwide Gown Giveaway with bridal salons across the country that provides free wedding gowns to military brides.

Men

What they do: Provides professional clothing, mentoring, and life-skills to help men in poverty become stronger contributors to their families and communities.

  • Career Wardrobe: complete business suits, shirts, trousers, blazers, ties, belts
  • Men’s Warehouse: suits & sport coats; dress shirts & collared shirts; sweaters; casual pants; vests; ties & other accessories; dress shoes; jackets, long coats & raincoats; women’s professional clothing & accessories ***ONLY DURING THE MONTH OF JULY*** (Offer a 50% off your next purchase coupon for donations!)

What they do: All donations collected during the drive are given to clients of job training and employment programs offered by approximately 170 nonprofit partner organizations across the country.

Teens

  • Becca’s Closet: New and gently worn long and short formal dresses in all sizes. No wedding gowns, business wear or everyday clothing!

What they do: Donates formal dresses to high school girls who are unable to afford to purchase them. Becca’s Closet also awards scholarships to deserving high school students.

  • Cinderella’s Attic: new or like-new formal attire and accessories – dresses, shawls, shoes, clutches and jewelry; business services – gift certificates from hair and nail salons, restaurants, dry cleaners, and transportation services

What they do:  Cinderella’s Attic was created during the heart of the recession in 2006 when a San Diego teacher saw the negative effects of girls not being able to afford and attend prom. They now provide high school girls with free formal wear for their prom and other special formal events. Every spring they host a “boutique” complete with art and music, allowing girls to come and “shop” the donated items.

  • Glass Slipper Project: good, clean formal (prom) dresses, shoes, and accessories. Check their website for current items needed!

What they do: Dresses, jewelry and accessories are distributed at make-shift “boutiques” each prom season, where each student receives individual assistance from a volunteer “personal shopper” as she shops for the dress of her dreams. The boutiques are open to high school juniors and seniors in Chicago and other surrounding areas.

  • My Girlfriend’s Closet: shirts and sweaters, jeans and pants, shorts and skirts, jackets and coats, dresses and party dresses, pajamas and robes; shoes, purses and hats; jewelry and belts; clean stuffed animals; unopened makeup and toiletries

What they do: Their mission is to provide quality, gently used clothing, shoes and accessories to economically disadvantaged teenage girls and young women for free, in an atmosphere that enables them to “shop” with pride.

  • The Princess Project: dresses from 2010 to present – prom dresses, formal gowns or fancy party dresses; accessories

What they do: The Princess Project works to promote self-confidence and a stress-free prom experience through hosting free “shopping” events in the spring for girls who come from low-income households. The goal is to provide girls who normally wouldn’t be able to afford prom a truly beautiful prom experience complete with a trendy prom dress and accessories.

Babies and Children

  • S.A.F.E. (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies): new and gently used (like new, i.e. washed and clean) stuffed animals, books, blankets, coloring books, crayons, children’s clothing, and baby items. No battery-operated items!

Shoes

  • Soles4Souls: New or gently-used shoes (still wearable, i.e. no holes)

What they do: Global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing. Combined with Clothes4Souls.

  • Glass Slipper Project: Good, clean formal (prom) dresses, shoes, and accessories. Check their website for current items needed!

Jewelry

What they do: Repair, clean and disinfect old costume jewelry. Host a Spring Bling and bring jewelry for a minimal donation to raise funds. Give jewelry to Cinderella’s closet and indirectly help a mission in Nicaragua.

What they do: Volunteer animal rescue organization that launches and maintains programs to assist county animal shelters. Indigo Rescue intervenes by taking animals who have run out of time in the shelter environment, rehabilitating them in foster homes before placing them in adoptive homes. They use jewelry sales to raise money.

  • Glass Slipper Project: Good, clean formal (prom) dresses, shoes, and accessories. Check their website for current items needed!
  • New Eyes: Eyeglasses, sunglasses, hearing aids, watches, jewelry, silverware, giftware

Eyewear

  • New Eyes: Eyeglasses, sunglasses, hearing aids, watches, jewelry, silverware, giftware

What they do: Eyeglasses in good condition are sent to medical missions and international charitable organizations for distribution to the poor in developing nations. Proceeds from the sale of scrap metal, hearing aids, jewelry and giftware are used to support the U.S. eyeglass voucher program.

What they do: Supports local communities around the globe through initiatives that bring eye care, eyewear, education, and disaster relief to places where they’re needed most.

Art and Craft Supplies

  • Binky Patrol: Yarn, batting, and cotton, fleece, and flannel fabric (from smoke-free homes). Strongly urges to check for the chapter nearest you and look at their wishlist before donating!

What they do: Provides children in need with the gift of homemade blankets, allows children to make a difference through volunteering, and teaches leadership skills to women.

What they do: Collect yarn and distributes it to volunteer knitters/crocheters to make hats, mittens, scarves, sweaters, afghans, baby booties, layette sets, and Christmas stockings for needy children.

What they do: They make, collect and donate winter hats, scarves, afghans & baby blankets to the homeless, working poor, and others in need.

What they do: Provide innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.

  • Mother Bear Project: US Postage Stamps, packing Tape, yarn (Acrylic, cotton, or washable wool, 4-ply or worsted weight acrylic, cotton or wool), knitting needles (#7 knitting needles), PolyFil

What they do: Dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear. The simple gift of a hand-knit bear with a tag signed by the knitter has touched children with the message that they are unconditionally loved.

donate yarn

Toys/Stuffed Animals

  • S.A.F.E. (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies): new and gently used (like new, i.e. washed and clean) stuffed animals, books, blankets, coloring books, crayons, children’s clothing, and baby items. No battery-operated items!

What they do: Collect items to benefit children during emergency situations such as fires, illness, accidents, neglect, abuse, homelessness and even weather emergencies. They clean the donations and then give them to fire and police departments, children’s organizations, churches, and homeless shelters. Find a chapter near you!

  • Operation Gratitude: Beanie Babies/Webkinz/Trolls, as well as Halloween candy and Girl Scout cookies.

What they do: “Operation Gratitude annually sends 250,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene products, handmade items, plus personal letters of appreciation to New Recruits, Veterans, First Responders, individually-named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas, Wounded Heroes and their caregivers.” The beanie babies and toys are given out to the local kids for emotional support and to allow the kids to trust the soldiers and help them find the location of IED’s.

  • My Girlfriend’s Closet: shirts and sweaters, jeans and pants, shorts and skirts, jackets and coats, dresses and party dresses, pajamas and robes; shoes, purses and hats; jewelry and belts; clean stuffed animals; unopened makeup and toiletries

School/Office Supplies

  • Develop Africa: NetbooksLaptops, Kindles, iPads, eReaders; spiral bound, composition and other notebooks; backpack and other book bags; calculators; filler paper; colored pencils, crayons and markers; ruler with English and metric measurements; colored pens; erasers; pencil boxes/cases; glue sticks; graph paper; pens and pencils; pencil sharpeners (individual and classroom); pocket dictionaries; reams or boxes of paper; stackable or folding chairs;

What they do: Develop Africa was born from the vision that human resource development is the key to improving nation building capacity in Africa. To help achieve this vision, we are focused on a range of programs in Africa, including: education, microfinance and small business support, job skills / leadership development and training, health, and more.

What they do: Increase the availability of writing utensils to needy children in Africa.

  • Muscular Dystrophy Association: office equipment: telephone systems, cell phones, photocopiers, fax machines, Kroy machines, etc.; office furniture: desks, credenzas, tables, chairs, shelves and office dividers; office supplies, activity and craft supplies, medical equipment and supplies (Check with your local MDA office to see what is needed)

What they do: “We use our collective strength to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger by finding research breakthroughs across diseases, caring for individuals from day one and empowering families with services and support in hometowns across America.

Books

  • BetterWorldBooks: all books (at least good condition encouraged though!) Lots of drop-off locations across the US and offers free shipping.

What they do: Books are sold online to help raise funds for non-profit literacy organizations changing the world through teaching kids, supporting families, building schools and filling libraries. Any books not sold are either donated directly to one of our non-profit partners or recycled.

  • Books for Africa: popular fiction and nonfiction reading books (soft and hard cover); books that are 15 years old or newer; primary, secondary, and college textbooks (soft and hard cover) with a 2000 or newer publish date; reference books such as encyclopedias and dictionaries published in 2005 or later; medical, nursing, IT, and law books with a 2000 or newer publish date; some Bibles or religious booksSchool/office supplies—paper, pencils, pens, wall charts, maps, etc.

What they do: Donate text and library books to 49 different countries all over Africa. Their goal is to end the book famine in Africa. Over the past 12 months they have shipped 2.4 million books, 665 computers and 200 e-readers containing 1.6 million digital books, as well as 5 new law and human rights libraries to 21 African countries. More than $2.3 million was raised last year to ship the books to the students of Africa.

  • Darien Book Aid Plan: children’s books for all ages (preschool through High School, fiction, non-fiction); classics and simplified classics; short story collections; grammar books; teaching methods and materials; English as a Second Language (ESL) books and materials; books in Spanish or French for native speakers in all subjects (children and adult titles); Spanish/English and French/English dictionaries; crafts/home Arts: sewing, cooking, knitting etc.; DIY books: carpentry, masonry, auto repair etc.; construction/industrial Arts; medical and nursing textbooks; law books; High School and College Textbooks — no more than 5 years old; computer and IT training latest titles only; business, banking, finance, accounting, entrepreneurship; international relations, conflict resolution, globalization; agriculture, vegetable gardening, beekeeping, animal husbandry; ecology, environment and climate change; reference books: dictionaries, atlases — no more than 10 years old; art books; maps; National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazines no more than 5 years old; Bibles.

What they do: Book Aid sends books in response to specific requests from Peace Corps volunteers, libraries, and schools all over the world. Books are also donated to libraries, prisons, hospitals, and Native American and Appalachian groups in the United States.

Electronics

What they do: Dedicated to providing for children’s hospitals year-round, supplying everything from classic video game systems to brand new next-generation systems to hospitals around the world.

  • Hopeline from Verizon: used cellphones (from any provider), batteries, and accessories (Can donate at any local Verizon store!)

What they do: help support victims and survivors of domestic violence while ensuring that phones are reused in an environmentally responsible way, and then uses the proceeds from these donations to provide cash grants to domestic violence organizations across the United States.

  • Cellphones for Soldiers: all types of cell phones, smartphones and tablets from any carrier and chargers if donated with accompanying phone. (Drop-off locations all over!)

What they do: provide cost-free communication services and emergency funding to active-duty military members and veterans

  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV): any cell phone in any condition and their accessories (most wanted: iPhones, Samsung, and HTC), laptops, Mp3 Players, digital cameras, video game systems, (chargers, accessories, cords, etc. are accepted too!)

What they do: fund programming that empowers victims of domestic violence, connects victims and survivors to helpful resources, and helps them remain free from abuse; support legislation aimed at ending domestic violence; give support and resources to organizations across the US working to stop violence in the home.

  • World Computer Exchange: Computers: Working Duo Core or Pentium 4 (minimum 2 GHz) and above PC desktops and laptops (with their power adapters) and tablets; monitors: LCD flat screen (only); keyboards: English, French, and Spanish; mice, cables and power cords; printers: working laser and 3-in-1 printers; scanners with cables and software Network gear: working network switches, routers, and hubs, EtherNet cards and cable; digital projectors and digital microscopes for school computer labs; webcams for school computer labs and digital cameras; microphones and earphones; extra RAM (512 Megs and above); recent internal and external DVD drives; extra Hard Drives for laptops or desktops (minimum 80 gigs); USB thumb drives and USB hub/multi ports; UPS’s (Uninterrupted Power Supplies) with working batteries (only); graphing calculators; working and nonworking cell phones. (Please check the website as they further explain what they are looking for!)

What they do: “To reduce the digital divide for youth in developing countries; to use our global network of partnerships to enhance communities in these countries; and to promote the reuse of electronic equipment and its ultimate disposal in an environmentally responsible manner.”

  • National Cristina Foundation: working electronics, i.e. PC and MAC desktops, laptops, answering machines, copiers, monitors, keyboards, scanner fax machine, etc… (type in your zipcode and the site brings up non-profits nearby and a list of what items they are looking for)

What they do: Provide free donation management system software and solutions for use by nonprofits, schools and public agencies in their local communities to manage their own reuse agendas to benefit people with disabilities, students at risk, and persons who are economically disadvantaged.

  • Computers 2 SD Kids: computers, laptops (APPLE & PCs), monitors (any size); keyboards, mice; printers, copiers; fax, scanners; servers; routers and switches; televisions; radios; stereo equipment, speakers; cellphones, land phones; VCRs, DVRs, Recorders; projectors; miscellaneous cords; software, hardware; ink and toner cartridges (new); tablets (iPads, Androids)

What they do: “Through our Technology Grant Program, applicants are reviewed for socio-economic status and family dynamics, and accepted candidates are contacted to receive training and a computer. Their goal is to assist qualified children and their families to obtain computers, software, training, and support in order to help them become computer literate as well as increase their access to educational, occupational, and financial resources and the related skills to effectively use that technology.

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