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Do's and don'ts of donating

02/09/2022

Donations that charities accept and why.

There’s nothing like the feeling of a good clean out and being able to drop off pre-loved items to support a local charity. While quality donations can make a huge difference to helping people in need, there’s a big misconception that every charity can take any item.

Lifeline Retail Manager, Michael Kats, said the right sort of donations are important to local communities.

“By donating quality preloved goods to Lifeline for us to sell, you’re helping raise funds for our 13 11 14 crisis support line and other local counselling and suicide prevention services,” Michael said.

“For other welfare charities, your donations can help clothe someone or help fit out a person’s home.

“And while donating is also good for the environment, donating the wrong items can actually end up costing the charity money, which means it has less to help those in need.”

What should I donate?

As a rule of thumb, donations should be of a quality that people would buy and that you would be prepared to pass on to a relative or friend, including:

  • Fashion and accessories
  • Manchester and linen
  • Shoes
  • Homewares
  • Working electrical goods
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Music
  • Seasonal items like winter clothing and blankets.

What shouldn’t I donate?

Most charities don’t have the resources to mend furniture, electrical goods or clothing – so make sure you’re not dropping off unsuitable items including:

  • Items that are broken
  • Stained or torn items
  • Clothes that are missing buttons or have zips that don’t work
  • Damaged shoes
  • Mattresses
  • Heaters
  • Microwaves.

Where should I drop off items?

Michael said the best way to drop off items is directly to Lifeline or other welfare shops where possible.

“Due to some ongoing issues around street donation bins, we ask people to drop off their items directly to any Lifeline shop,” Michael said.

“Bulky items or large quantities of donations can be taken to our Newcastle warehouse and in some cases we can pick up large items.

“Every charity is different though, so it’s best to check with your local organisation first for donation pick-ups or shop locations and hours.

“People don’t need to spend time sorting or labelling things either as our staff and volunteers asses, tag or price every item that comes in to make sure they are suitable for sale.

“It takes a lot of people hours in our warehouse and shops to get donations to a second home – around 200 hours a week at our Newcastle warehouse alone.”

What happens to unsuitable items?

When goods can’t be given a second home, the charity has to find other ways to pass them on.

Lifeline works with a relief organisation to send unsuitable clothing items overseas for clothing aid or rags.

“We try to avoid sending items to landfill but something that’s our only option,” Michael said.

“This costs a significant amount of money, which is why we ask people to donate quality items and why we sometimes refuse to take badly damaged furniture.”

What can I do with items that can’t be donated?

There are plenty of alternative options for items that may be unsuitable.

It’s always worth trying to sell or advertise your goods through a garage sale or online platform, you never know what someone else might be looking for.

If you can’t repair or re-sell your garments, some franchises also offer collection points where you can drop off old clothing to be recycled.

As a last resort, you can also pop items out during a council kerbside collection, take it to a waste disposal facility or use your regular garbage service.

Donations are very important to our communities and our environment, and the best way to support our local charities is by donating the right items. 

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication.

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