Most people regularly give food, clothes, and books to people in need, but only a select few around the country have ever donated large items like kitchen appliances, furniture, or vehicles to charity. The infrequency of large-item donation is likely due to a general misunderstanding of how the process works and what benefits come from it. In truth, large-item donation is vastly different from the giving of small things, but it can be significantly more rewarding to both donors and charities. Read on for seven common misconceptions regarding large-item donation.
1. Charities Don’t Ask for Large Items
Once or twice a year, during spring cleaning or a new move, most people go through their belongings to eliminate the items they never or rarely use. These items are often sorted into piles: donate, sell, trash. Unfortunately, most of the items in the “donate” pile are small, like articles of clothing or books. The truth is that while almost all charities willingly accept these donations, larger items are truly coveted because they generate so much additional revenue. Still, eager donors should investigate the capacity of their chosen organizations before attempting to donate large items.
2. Collection Organizations Directly Use Donations
Many potential large-item donors are put off by the misconception that they must find organizations that directly put their items to use. For example, Habitat for Humanity accepts items like dishwashers and ovens to place in homes for needy families. However, organizations like these don’t exist in all places — or else donors are concerned about the desirability of their items — which can lead to these items going to the dump instead.
However, in most cases, large items are not taken in for direct use; instead, most organizations that accept large-item donations will fix the items up and sell them for cash. Then, the resulting money will be used to benefit various charitable causes. That means beneficent people can help out their favorite causes with simple, unrelated donations.
3. The Item Must Appear New
This myth is related to the previous one: If organizations take in large items to immediately use, the items must appear unblemished enough to look nice in a home. However, because most collection organizations that deal with large items are simply reselling them for financial gain, most organizations are willing to accept items in any condition, sparkling or well-worn. After the donation of a less-than-pristine item, some organizations will clean the item up while others will lower the price to sell it as-is.
4. The Item Must Be in Working Condition
Again, because charities rarely take in large donations with the intent of directly using them, most collection organizations are willing to take in everything from brand-new to broken-down items. Almost all collection organizations will restore the items to proper functioning order before sale.
5. Donations Must Be Delivered to Drop-off Sites
Despite the stereotype that the truck is the all-American vehicle, most Americans don’t own cars large enough to carry large items or tow heavy trailers. That means transporting large items for donation is a real hassle, and the idea of completing such a task is enough to dissuade any potential donor. However, most organizations are so interested in collecting large donations that they are willing to come right to donors’ front doors, negating the worry over transport. Potential donors need only contact their chosen organization and discuss pick-up times.
6. Only Certain Large Items Can Be Donated
Most charitable thrift stores have a handful of sofas, but rarely does one spot a stove or a car at discounted prices. This leads many potential large-item donors to believe that only select large items are capable of being donated, when this is simply not the case. Almost everything that can be owned can be donated to benefit charities, from hammers to houses.
However, not all charities accept any and all large items. For example, many collection organizations will take in automobiles like boats and cars, but they wouldn’t know what to do with beds and coffee tables. Potential donors must do a small amount of research to find out what can go where.
7. Donating Does Benefit the Donor
The easiest thing for anyone to do with unwanted items is to toss them in the trash — and many people do, incorrectly assuming that donating is simply a waste of time. However, in many ways, donation pays back multifold during tax season. Charitable gifts — which can take the form of monetary or good contributions — can count as deductions on one’s taxes, so long as one can provide evidence of the gifts. You can also find a totally free tax calc online that can help you figure the numbers out. Because large items are worth so much, most collection organizations are more than willing to provide donors with a receipt detailing the assessed value of their donations.