What Do Charities Do With Donated Goods?

by Catherine Lovering
Donated goods are a lifeblood of many charities.

Charities solicit donations of time and money to support their effective ongoing operations and fiscal sustainability. Donations of in-kind goods, such as furniture, household appliances and personal care items are also highly coveted to bring in funds for the charity and to save them the expense of purchasing items that they need for their services.

Retail Shop Sales

Charities often run networks of retail shops that sell refurbished, used or new items that have been donated. Workers in these shops are commonly charity volunteers who donate their time to run the operation. The profit made from these shops goes to fund the other activities of the charity as a whole and may also be used to fund the shop's operating expenses.

Charity Operations

Charities require office space, furniture and office equipment to meet their objectives of helping those in need. Donated goods may be kept by the charity for its own use, saving the expense of purchasing vital items. In addition to office items, specific charities have specific needs: animal shelters require pet food bowls, brushes, toys and large appliances such as a washer and dryer to launder animal blankets.

Populations in Need

Donated goods such as nonperishable food and personal care items such as toothpaste, deodorant, soap and laundry detergent are passed on directly to patrons of homeless shelters and food banks. Animal food banks similarly pass on dog and cat food to those animal caregivers who need assistance in caring for pets. Organizations such as Dress for Success, whose mission is to provide interview dress for individuals, pass on the donations of professional attire.

Skills Development

Donated goods often need repair or refinishing before reuse or sale. Organizations sometimes use these goods in both ad hoc and formalized job training programs to provide training to individuals who require specific skills development.

About the Author

Catherine Lovering has written about business, tax, careers and pets since 2006. Lovering holds a B.A. (political science), LL.B. (law) and LL.L. (civil law).

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