You may know where to donate common household items such as used books, clothing and canned goods but have no idea what to do with your leftover office supplies. These products do not need to gather dust or go to waste. Donated office equipment, furniture and supplies are desperately needed by many worthy organizations.
Determine if the office supplies are suitable for donation. No organization needs or wants junk. Make sure all equipment is in good condition and in working order. Consider including supplies such as staples for a stapler or ink cartridges for a printer or fax machine. This allows the recipient to immediately use the item without an additional expense. An old or outdated computer may not be a good fit for your local school but may be a blessing for a school in a Third World country. Be sure to recycle items that are not appropriate for donation and need to be discarded.
Keeping it Local
Call ahead. Don’t assume every charity will welcome or benefit from your donation. Charities with an operation office may appreciate an open carton of copy paper or box of pens. Charities that redistribute product may be more prone to accept larger donations. Contact local schools or individual teachers. Many teachers spend hundreds of dollars out of pocket for classroom supplies. Contact the Chamber of Commerce. They may be aware of local entrepreneurs or new businesses that would benefit from office supplies. Churches may be aware of congregants in need or sponsoring a charity drive that would benefit from a donation of office supplies. Keeping it local will save shipping costs and positively impact your community.
If shipping costs are not an issue or you wish to donate to a distant location there are many resources available on the Internet. The Freecycle Network is one example. The organization has thousands of members in over 110 countries and matches donations to appropriate recipients. Do some research and decide where your donation is needed.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that unscrupulous people feed on the generosity of others. Avoid contributing to fraudulent organizations. The Federal Trade Commission offers suggestions on their website to ensure a charity is legitimate.
Besides the warm and fuzzy satisfaction of helping others, there may be a financial advantage to donating your office supplies. Many donations are tax deductible. Always check to see if an organization qualifies and get written receipts for your donations.