With technology changing so rapidly these days, people are upgrading their computers, laptops and tablets much more often than in the past. The question is, what to do with the old hardware that you're replacing? A wonderful way of providing your old equipment with a new home is by donating it to a charitable organization.
Where to Donate Old Computers
Many non-profit organizations accept donations of second hand computers. Some will only take ones in good working condition, while others will take them whether they are functional or not. This will depend on how they use them, as some organizations will incorporate your old equipment into theirs to help run their programs and services. Others will sell them for parts and recycling and use the funds they receive to fund their charitable endeavors.
This non-profit organization is a certified Microsoft Refurbisher which accepts used electronic equipment donations. InterConnection will refurbish the equipment, if possible, and provide them to under-served communities internationally. For example, they have provided computers to rural schools in Chile and organizations assisting in rebuilding communities in Chile, Haiti, Japan and Pakistan after natural disasters struck.
- They provide free mailing services for laptops, as well as phones, for free by printing a mailing label through their website.
- Laptops must be no older than seven years and are able to boot up.
- InterConnection provides a data wiping service to clear your equipment of all of your personal data.
- If your business is in the Puget Sound, Washington, area and you have at least three functional desktops or laptops, you can schedule a free pickup. Processors must be a minimum of i5 or i7. They cannot do residential pickups.
- They may do an out-of-state pickup based on the size and quality of the donation. These are decided on a case-by-case basis.
PCs for People
This organization, located in Colorado, Minnesota, and Ohio, provides electronic recycling services for business. As a 501c3 non-profit organization, your business can receive a tax donation receipt for sending equipment such as computers, laptops and other electronic equipment to PCs for People. They are a certified Microsoft Refurbisher and will turn your donated equipment into working computers for low-income people and non-profits across the U.S.
- You can request a free pickup of equipment if your business is located in Minnesota or Colorado and you have a minimum of 15 usable computers.
- Donating CRT monitors and televisions requires a charge of 55 cents per pound.
- PCs for People will destroy data on any hard drives to protect your private information.
- Any equipment that cannot be refurbished is recycled and kept out of the nation's landfills.
National Cristina Foundation
This group claims to have pioneered the concept of reusing technological products back in 1984. Rather than take in donations, the National Cristina Foundation facilities finding local charities that need your technology donations. Some of the programs they seek to serve with refurbished and donated equipment are people with disabilities, lower income persons, and students. All you need to do is go to their website and enter your zip code and a mileage radius, and a list of participating non-profits will be provided. The list will also include an itemized list of all technology that these local charities are seeking for their programs and services, such as laptops, disk drives, tablets and computer peripherals. If you have a large donation of technology to make, you can contact the foundation directly and they can assist you with finding a good home for it.
World Computer Exchange
The World Computer Exchange takes donated computers to refurbish and load education content. The computers are then used in their Inspire Girls and School Refurbishing Clubs projects to provide education to needy children in 79 developing countries.
- They can only take computers in good working order with either Duo Core or i Series processors. Laptops and tablets must come with their power adapters.
- They will also take flat screen 17", 19" and 21" monitors, wired USB keyboards and mice along with several types of peripherals such as webcams and scanners.
- Donations can be dropped off to their local chapters located in eight U.S. cities and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico as well as an office in Ottawa, Canada, and Monrovia, Liberia.
- If you do not live near a chapter, you can mail the donations at your expense to their Boston area office.
Donation Town is an organization that facilitates in-kind donations of a variety of items to charities around the country. You simply go to the website, enter your zip code, and a list will be provided of charities local to you that need donations. Many of these charities will take working computer equipment. Donation Town works with many national charities with local offices such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity and in certain cities even arranges for donation pickups for these charities.
Computers With Causes
Computers with Causes helps donors to find charities near them that will take their used computer donations. They can also assist with repairing and refurbishing computers prior to donation to a non-profit in need. You can call their toll free number (888) 228-7320 or go to the website and pick your state to fill out an online form with information about your donation. You will be contacted with further information about where you can donate your equipment. If there are no organizations near you, they can arrange for shipping the items. Organizations that have benefited include schools, museums, libraries and historical societies, patient and family support charities and animal welfare organizations.
Your local Goodwill store will happily take used computers and electronic equipment if it's in good working condition. They also will clear all the data from your hard drive for you. All the funds raised from Goodwill Industries thrift store sales, including your equipment, go to their programs helping train people for new jobs and careers. There are more than 3,300 Goodwill stores in North America.
The Salvation Army
Like Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army operates thrift stores, called "Family Stores," across the country to raise funds for their programs. The Salvation Army uses the proceeds from these stores to fund programs for their adult rehabilitation centers for people with drug and alcohol addictions. Items must be in good working order to be donated. Depending on where you live, you may be able to have a Salvation Army truck pick up your donation from your home or business. Otherwise you can bring your items to your nearest store. You can call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (728-7825) or enter your zip code on the website to find the closest location.
Finding Local Charities That Need Used Computers
In addition to national organizations, there are many small charities that can make use of your old computers and equipment. You will have to contact each individually to find out if they can make use of your donation, as every small local organization has their own individual needs. Some may not be able to use an older computer, or they might be an office that uses Macintosh computers and can't take a PC.
Public and private K-12 schools may accept donated computers for student or faculty use. They may use them in classrooms, in the library, or in faculty break rooms. Colleges, especially ones that teach computer technical support or computer repair, may accept old computers to use as instructional machines. Trade schools that focus on IT and computer repair may also take used equipment, even if it's not working, to use for students to practice on during their classes.
Senior Citizen Centers
Many senior citizen centers and assisted living facilities offer computer training for members or have computer labs for members to to surf the Internet, check email, and perform other tasks may accept donated machines.
Clubs focused on youth, such as boys and girls clubs or church groups. offer a variety of back to school and educational programs. If one of the clubs in your area does not already have a fully stocked computer lab where kids can do their homework or learn computer skills, the organization may be thrilled to hear you say that you'd like to donate old computers.
Thrift Stores Operated by Charitable Organizations
While the Salvation Army and Goodwill are the "big names" in thrift stores, many small local charities operate their own thrift stores as a way of raising money to fund their operating expenses and programs. If you donate your equipment to a charitable organization that runs a thrift store, it is likely that your items will be offered for sale at a price significantly lower than retail. This will provide low-income families with an affordable way to purchase a computer while also helping an important charitable organization earn money.
Shelters for Adults and Families
There are a few types of shelters that offer computer training as a way to help people get back on their feet and find jobs. Homeless shelters that service all adults are one such charity, as well as women's shelters which provide a safe haven for women and children who flee abusive home situations. In addition to using computers for training, shelters that serve families will often set up play and homework areas for children where computers would be very useful. Donated computers may be accepted for use at the facility, or to be given to residents as they move out and set up housekeeping on their own.
Disaster Relief Agencies
Organizations that provide disaster relief often work with people who have lost their homes to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, and other misfortunes. Some of these types of organizations accept donations of goods that can help affected people begin to rebuild their lives. Providing someone who has lost everything with a working computer is one small step toward helping life return to normal for individuals coping with these types of situations.
Donate Your Old Computer Equipment
Donating old computers is a great way to support a nonprofit organization in your community. It's also an environmentally responsible alternative to sending electronic equipment that you no longer have a use for to a landfill. There are also financial benefits, since donations of equipment to recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations are tax deductible. Remember when you donate your computers to make sure that you have cleared all of your private information and data from the hard drives. Many organizations offer to do this for you as well, so it's important to ask before you finalize your donation.