Clear out your closet for charity
Donating things to charity is a great way to give. You get to declutter your home and they get to make money for good causes. Here are some of the more surprising ways you can make money for your favourite charities without it costing you anything. Let’s clear out your closet for charity!
- Spend for charity
- Printer cartridges
- Old glasses
- Foreign currency
- Mobile phones
- Old clothes
- Click for charity
- Gift aid
If, like me, you always have a bag in a cupboard specifically for things that you will take to the charity shop, you might be surprised at some of the odd extra things you can take to make money from them. Rummage about in your drawers and cupboards and give them yet more to help their cause.
If you pay off your credit card debt each month then why not do some good for charity at the same time. More and more charities are getting in on the credit card act so there are now quite a few good causes to choose from.
Barclaycard Breathe allows you to help the environment whilst you spend. It has a 16.9% APR, which is similar to other charity cards. The card also offers 0% on balance transfers for 10 months after opening your account (the only costs are the 3% handling fee). It includes a 5.9% purchase rate on purchases made on public transport (excluding transport for London), to encourage you to get out of your car and on to a train or a bus and reduce carbon emissions. The card also gives you lots of green offers and discounts including 10% off at Halfords and 15% off plants and garden products at Crocus.
For more charity credit cards see our whole article here.
Stamps can be really valuable. You’d be surprised how much some of them fetch. They are collected by quite a lot of charities to be sold on to stamp collectors or dealers. Foreign or old stamps usually make more money, but charities collect current UK stamps as well.
It’s worth just asking your local charity shop if they take stamps and them including them in the bag of stuff you take to them every now and then.
Leave at least 8mm of paper around the edge of your stamp (make sure there’s a good amount of paper still round them because ordinary stamps are sold by weight) and send them off to your chosen charity or take them to your local charity shop. Some charities have drop off points or even offer to do pick ups. Check each charity’s recommendations first.
- Charities that collect old stamps include RSPB, DHIVERSE and the World Owl Trust.
- Alternatively, you can send your stamps to Charity Stamps Direct which will buy your stamps and allocate the money to your chosen listed charity on their website.
Keep all stamps that come in, even if they’re dull. Many stamp companies buy by weight so it’s worth giving all of them to charity.
Did you know it takes 3.5 litres of oil to make a new laser printer cartridge and 90ml of oil to make new inkjet cartridge? Giving charities your empty cartridges helps them to sell them directly to companies which refill them and sell them on. This makes them money and decreases the 1800 tonnes of cartridges that end up in UK landfill sites every year. Recycle and you will not only help charities but help the planet!
Collect up your printer cartridges and either email the charity for a freepost envelope or take them down to your local charity shop. Why not suggest the scheme at work too? It will generate extra funds for your chosen charity and make the company look good!
- Charities collecting printer cartridges include RNLI, Sense, Barnados, World Cancer Research Fund and the British Institute for Brain Injured Children.
- Boots also recycles printer cartridges which gives you 100 Boots advantage points per cartridge and donates 20p to charity.
Charity shops will take glasses of all types including sunglasses (in fact those are likely to sell better than prescription ones). However, a better idea is to donate them to a sight charity. Sight charities collect old spectacles to send to people with sight difficulties in developing countries. All you have to do is take your old glasses into your local donation point.
- The main national project at the moment is Vision Aid Overseas, but smaller local charities near you may also collect. To find your local collection point, use their location finder here.
- All branches of Dolland and Aitchinson stores and most Boots stores have glasses recycling bins where you can deposit your old spectacles to go to Vision Aid and other needy causes.
You know what happens when you come back from holiday with those spare few euros or dollars in your purse and you think ‘I’ll use them next year’. Well, instead of accumulating a mini coin collection in your top drawer, give it to your local charity. Some charities are also still collecting old currency from Europe that you can no longer use. Take your spare euros, cents, francs and lira down to your local charity shop or, for very heavy collections, free collection is often available.
- Charities such as RNIB collect current foreign currency, while charities such as Help the Aged, Marie Curie and Age UK collect old currency that you can no longer change.
With mobile phone companies constantly offering free phone upgrades and new handsets with new contracts, the number of discarded mobiles is increasing rapidly. Instead of throwing out your old phones, give them to your local charity which can sell them on (even if they don’t work). This is a great thing to do if you’re getting a new phone this Christmas. Contact your chosen charity for freepost envelopes to send them your old mobiles.
- Charities currently collecting old mobiles include Mencap, ActionAid, Bliss, Age UK and CLIC Sargent.
- Or you can make money for yourself and give this directly to your charity by doing your own recycling. For more information on recycling mobile phones see our article here. Use our comparison tool below to find out which companies will give you the most amount of money for your mobile phone and, therefore, which will give you the most to give to charity! As our family blogger, Lindsey, explains here organisations that say they will recycle for charity often don’t give as much money for your phones as the usual recycling companies. You’re often better off doing it yourself.
To find out how much your phone is work check out our comparison tool.
Having a sort-out in your wardrobe to make room for this season’s latest fashions? Donate your old clothes to charity, where they can be sold in charity shops to make extra money for that charity, or sent to those in need.
On the whole retro or designer clothes make the most for the charity shops, but all clothes are accepted as long as they are clean and in good condition. Either take your clothes down to your local charity shop or your nearest clothes bank. Some charities will also collect clothes from your home if you phone up to ask.
- Nationwide charities that collect clothes include the Salvation Army, Oxfam and the British Red Cross.
- If you have any Marks & Spencer’s clothes that you can donate, Oxfam offer a £5 Marks and Spencer’s voucher to every bag donated that contains one or more item of clothing (with the exception of lingerie and swimwear) from Marks and Spencer.
A quick and easy way to give to charity without it costing you anything at all is to use a charity search engine when you search online. There are a few that give part of their advertising revenue to charity including:
Also, if you want to do some good while you’re buying stuff then use the shopping website Give or Take. It’s a cashback site where you decide whether you keep the cash or hand it over to charity. You can even nominate your favourite charities to receive the money.
- Everyclick.com – half of their advertising revenue goes to UK charities chosen by their users.
- Magictaxi – again, half of their revenue goes to charity. They feature a different charity each day on their home page.
- ClickCharity.org – a website where the longer you leave a tab open from their site, the more money it raises for their funds. You can even vote for which charity they will donate to next.
When you take your unwanted stuff to your local charity shop, ask them if they have a Gift Aid scheme in place. You could help them make even more money without any cost to yourself.
For example, Sue Ryder Care has been pioneering an innovative scheme called which asks taxpayers donating unwanted goods to sign up to the Gift Aid scheme. It means for us at the end of this financial year an extra £1m that they wouldn’t have had. This enables the charity to collect an extra 25p in tax relief for every per pound raised by selling the items in its shops.
It has been possible to collect Gift Aid on cash contributions for several years. But Sue Ryder Care was the first charity to devise a scheme which would work for physical donations. Donors are asked to sign a short Gift Aid Declaration form which confirms that they are a UK tax payer, and gives the charity permission to sell the goods on their behalf.
The British Heart Foundation launched its Gift Aid scheme across its 530 shops in September 2007, and has so far raised £700,000. The animal charity PDSA’s Gift Aid initiative has signed up almost 50,000 members since it went live last September, allowing it to claim almost £250,000 from HMRC.
Help the Aged, which has operated a similar system in its 364 shops since last April says it has made a “fantastic difference” to the charity’s income. Oxfam, which already collects Gift Aid on high value items, hopes to offer the facility across all donations by the end of the year.
So, next time you go in with a bulging binbag of clobber, ask if they have this scheme and sign the form!
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