Four Tips for Making the Most of Your Donations

Red cross clothing pick up

Are you interested in making American Red Cross clothing donations? Are you scratching your head and thinking, “I didn’t know I could make American Red Cross clothing donations!” We aren’t surprised if you didn’t know American Red Cross clothing donations were a thing; most people associate Red Cross donations with donating blood. However, Red Cross also takes household items and clothing donations and re-purposes them to further the Red Cross cause.

If you are considering making American Red Cross clothing donations (or want to donate clothes or used goods to any great cause), you should consider our list of tips for making the most of your donation.

Four Tips for Making the Most of Your Donations

  1. Make an Itemization of Your Donations

    You probably already know that your donation can give you some tax money back if you claim it, but you have to go about it the right way. The IRS wants to see documentation of your donations, which can be difficult to come up with after the fact.

    Instead, keep a running list of the donations that you make all year long. If you are computer-savvy, and Excel spreadsheet will make this easy. If not, a good ol’ notebook will do the trick. List each item, the shape it’s in and the approximate value. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what the market value of your donated item is; the Red Cross (or whatever organization you donate to) can give you a suggested value guide, or you can simply Google it. Make sure that your get a receipt of your donation from the organization you donate it to, the IRS will want that as well.

  2. Group Similar Items Together

    The volunteers and staff who are responsible for sorting through the donations that are given to them have their work cut out for them. They get hundreds of donations every day. If the donations aren’t organized, they can be next to impossible to sort into a usable shape. If you put one shoe in one box, and its mate in another box over there, the staff sorting through the goods will have to unpack all of your donations before knowing if they even have a usable pair of shoes.

    Instead, group all of your kitchen items in one container, all of the donations from your closet in one container, all of the shoes you’re donating in a single container, to make it easy to sort through. You can take it a step further and attach pairs together (such as the shoes in our example) and put labels on the box of what is inside. These simple steps will make the life of the volunteers who sort through your items far easier.

  3. Treat Breakable Items With Care
    If something you donate gets broken before it is unpacked, it doesn’t serve any purpose to the organization. In fact, in many cases, everything that was grouped in the same box will have to be disposed of as well. Not to mention that it’s a hazard to the staff who has to sort through your donation, not know that there is broken glass inside.

    Instead, treat fragile items that you are donating as you would if you were moving. Wrap them in news paper, grocery bags, or bubble wrap to protect them from being broken in transit. Label boxes that hold fragile items as such, so that handlers know to treat them accordingly.

  4. Don’t Donate Items That Cannot Be Used

    Unless they are specifically focused on recycling and re-purposing broken goods, the organization that you’re donating to cannot do anything with unusable items. Often, they have to dispose of your unusable items themselves. You pay a trash service to take your trash away. When you donate trash to a charitable donation, you are treating them like a free trash service.

    Before making a donation, plug any electronics or appliances you are donating in and make sure they function as they should. If the clothing you are getting rid of is so soiled or damaged that it can’t be worn, considering donating it to an organization that recycles old threads, instead of putting it on the shoulders of the charity to get rid of.

Do you have any questions or comments about donating good to charity? Share below!

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