If you're looking for a way to help out a nonprofit organization but don't have the financial means to make a monetary gift, you may want to donate used books that you no longer need to a charity that can put them to good use or sell them as a way of generating funds for programs and projects.
Benefits of Donating Books
If you have shelves filled with books that you have already read and are not likely to use in the future, there's no reason to let them sit there and gather dust. Once you are finished with a book, it can certainly be put to good use by a charitable organization.
Making this type of donation is a great way to provide support to a charitable cause that you believe in without having to incur a direct out of pocket expense. Since you've already purchased the books, the gift won't cost you anything. However, your generosity can have a positive impact on the organization that receives the donation.
Provide Project Resources
Donations of books can help nonprofits reduce operating expenses. After all, many nonprofits provide services that require various types of books. Without donations, funds would have to be allocated to purchasing reading materials. When people donate used books, the organizations can utilize available funds for other purposes.
Assist with Fundraising Efforts
Book donations can also help some organizations raise money. Nonprofits that operate thrift stores, for example, are able to sell used books as a way of raising money. Even organizations that don't have thrift shops can raise money by selling books in rummage sales or via online fundraising auctions. Some groups, especially libraries and schools, even hold used book sales once or twice each year.
Ideas for Where to Donate Used Books
While not every nonprofit organization accepts donated books, you're sure to be able to find several agencies in your local area that will be thrilled to receive the items that you want to share. As with any items that you'd like to donate, it's best to make contact with representatives of the organizations you are considering and inquire about their needs. Let them know what types of books you have available and ask if such gifts are accepted. If the answer is no, ask for recommendations of other organizations that may have a need for the items.
Examples of places that may be happy to allow you to donate used books include:
- Schools: Most public and private schools will be happy to accept donations of books that are appropriate for the age and reading levels of their students. They can utilize used books can be used to stock the library, provide supplemental reading materials for teachers and students use, or offer them for sale as a fundraising project.
- Ronald McDonald House: Ronald McDonald House's provide a place for families to stay when they are coping with the experience of having a child hospitalized far from their homes. They provide play areas for children who are staying in the home with their parents, so donations of books, toys and other items that can help keep things as normal as possible for the siblings of seriously ill children are greatly appreciated.
- Pediatric Hospitals: Hospitals that specialize in pediatric care may be quite happy to receive donations of children's books their young patients can read and enjoy. Donated books and toys can provide hours of stress relief to children who have to be hospitalized.
- Youth Groups: Church youth groups and service clubs often hold rummage sales as a way of raising money to fund mission trips and other types of activities. Since books are popular items, any group that is preparing for a fundraising yard sale will greatly appreciate receiving donated books to sell.
- Charitable Thrift Shops: Many nonprofit organizations operate thrift shops as a way to fund their activities. Contact your local Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift shop, or other similar store, to find out of they carry books. If so, your donation will certainly be appreciated.
Keep in mind that charitable organizations have limited resources. Be prepared to deliver the books that you want to donate to the organization yourself rather than expecting a representative to visit your home or office in person.
Keep a Record of Your Donation
Be sure to keep proper donation records if you hope to be able to write off the gift on your taxes. Make a list of the books that you donate and ask for a charitable donation receipt when you deliver the items to the organization. Attach the list to the receipt and store it with your other tax receipts so that you and your accountant have all of the information necessary to claim the donation as a tax deduction if it is appropriate to do so.