That old television you have replaced in search of high-definition and interactive features can still benefit you and others. Many charities, schools and other nonprofits welcome donated televisions to educate, entertain, inform and raise money. You can reduce your tax bill by donating your old set as well as saving space in your home. However, before you load your car, you need to know the organization's donation policies and their needs.
Drop Off at Thrift Stores
Many nonprofits sell donated televisions at their thrift stores. As a rule of thumb, thrift stores want televisions to be cable-ready and have inputs (red/white/yellow) for DVD players, VCRs or other electronic accessories. Certain nonprofits take flat-screen televisions. However, large televisions, consoles, black-and-white televisions and non-cable-ready devices may not be accepted at many thrift stores; console and large units may prove unsafe for employees to handle while black-and-white and non-cable-ready ones are obsolete. Some thrift stores will also allow you to make a computer donation or donate a printer, so you may be able to get rid of all of your unwanted electronics at once.
Utilize Furniture Banks
Your television can help furnish the home of a needy person or family. Nonprofits run furniture banks, which accept televisions, along with beds, chairs, sofas and other furnishings in good or gently-used condition. Depending on the furniture bank, your television must not exceed 30 or 32 inches across diagonally. Furniturebanks.org lists charities, churches and other nonprofits that take donated furniture. For example, the Salvation Army takes old TVs, so you can use the website to find information on your local branch.
Donate to Schools
Televisions afford schools the ability to show educational videos and DVDs or receive instructional programming. Classrooms in your community may receive educational channels such as NASA-TV, programming from the local school system and closed-circuit content. Chicago Public Schools distributes donated televisions to schools that request them through its Free Things Program. Check with your local school authority for its policy on receiving donated televisions; your system may not accept televisions or may require approval from the school board.
Giving to Shelters
Homeless shelters may use donated televisions for individuals and families who have been evicted or face immediate eviction of their homes. Contact the shelter for their requirements and needs. A shelter that does not have cable or satellite service may take only digital televisions or televisions accompanied by a digital converter box. If the shelter uses televisions for videos or games only, your analog set may work if it has inputs for DVD players, VCRs or game players. Due to space limitations, small televisions are likely preferred to larger sets.
Recycling Your Televisions
You can offer your old television for recycling, especially if you cannot find takers for it. Contact your local government for sites to bring televisions and other electronics for recycling. Through the Environmental Protection Agency's Electronics and Donations Recyling page, you can search for television manufacturers and retailers that participate in the Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge.
Christopher Raines enjoys sharing his knowledge of business, financial matters and the law. He earned his business administration and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a lawyer since August 1996, Raines has handled cases involving business, consumer and other areas of the law.