Charity organiser David Lawrence has some valuable advice re donating your stuff.
Donating your unwanted stuff
Everyone has ‘stuff’, it just appears and before you know it you need to make some room. That’s where we come in, we can take your unwanted items, from irons to tv’s, sofas to wardrobes, desks to lamps, if you have it to give……we’d be interested! That goes for businesses too!
Do you ever think about who’s taking your items and what happens when you get rid of them?
Let’s look at the options that are available
In my opinion (well it would as I work for one) this is the best of all options, it means that someone gets the benefit of your unwanted items.
Some charities will use your donation to raise funds for their cause; there are lots to choose from, you can support hospices, children, animals, health, action in this country and action abroad, you can choose what’s close to your heart.
Or, you could choose to donate your unwanted items to a charity like TRUP. We use it as a tool for training and volunteering, and then sell the refurbished item at low prices back into the community. In turn, the money from this then feeds back into TRUP so we can continue the work.
Businesses pretending to be charities (sacks through the door)
Most of us know about the plastic sacks that are put through doors by companies purporting to raise money through the sale of whatever is requested to go in the sack. Now, some of these companies are great and raise much needed funds for the charity they’re supporting. However, it’s important to make sure that you know who you are dealing with and how much of it the money raised (if any) gets donated to the cause and that they are genuine and not pretending to be something they’re not.
In my opinion, where you can, take your donation straight to the charity, or arrange a collection with your favourite, at least then you’ll know where you donation is going and who’s going to benefit.
Businesses offering to take away your donation for free
Sometimes these companies can look like a national organisation, or a local council and will offer to collect your unwanted items for free or for a small charge, with a promise that some of the funds generated will support people in this country or abroad. As a business or a householder this can look attractive and solve a problem, until that is you come across someone who lets you down, or you find out that they’re in it for the money.
Freebay, Freecycle, Freegle,…….
These are just a few of the websites (there seems to be a new one every week) that offer you the opportunity to advertise your unwanted items. Some sites will charge you to list, or push your advert up the listings, or for a better photo, whilst others will allow you to list for free if you’re giving the item away. Most of these sites earn an income from advertising on their sites, but obviously approach with caution as some less reputable sites may well be selling your email address!
These sites can be a good way of passing on things for free or earning a small income from your unwanted items. However, there’s no guarantee that anyone will need or indeed want what you have and if they do, are you prepared to let them collect from your home?
Companies pay for your items
This is quite a new idea, companies will either come to your home or you can take it to them and they will pay for your unwanted item. I’ve been a manager of a reuse charity for over 6 years and I know how hard it is for us to pay the bills, I’m not sure how these companies can make it work.
The man and his van
Generally speaking this is the guy that offers to take any of your unwanted things to the tip for free, however, in reality they may take what they can sell on, and the rest is dumped on the side of the road or down a back alley, this is fly tipping and not only is illegal, it also harms the environment.
If you do use this option ask to see their Waste Carriers Licence, and ask for a Waste Transfer Note, if they are a reputable company they will have this available, and don’t fall for the line ‘We’ll send it to you later’.
The rules you should know
Just so we all understand the law, it’s your responsibility to ensure your waste (that’s what unwanted clothes, fridges, washing machines, sofas are legally called) are disposed of correctly. If you allow someone to take away your goods (either paid for or done for free) and they’re disposed of incorrectly (fly tipping), any items that can be traced back to you, you will be responsible for – that means a hefty fine and the cost of clearing it up!
Your decision counts
As the economy gets worse I understand the need for people to think about ways to earn extra and save as much as they can, but I make the plea from the hard pressed charity sector – we still need your donation, so please think carefully how you are going to get rid of your stuff and don’t just let it go to someone who is going to earn big out of it. This year charities will see donations fall as people can’t afford to replace items as soon as they did in the past, and your donation can make a big difference to a charity. So, make sure your donation counts and give with thought and care.