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Where and How to Donate Old Cell Phones for Charity

Mychelle Blake
Cell Phone Donation

With cell phone technology changing so rapidly, many people upgrade even though their current phones are in working condition. Consider donating it to a charitable organization that will see to it the phones provide assistance to people who are in need. Some organizations refurbish and reprogram phones to provide to needy individuals and law enforcement agencies and others sell donated cell phones as a way of raising money to provide services to disadvantaged populations.

Charitables Organizations Take Cell Phone Donations

Several charitable organizations accept donated cell phones. Here are a few examples of groups you may want to connect with the next time you have a used phone that needs a new home.

911 Cell Phone Bank

The 911 Cell Phone Bank accepts donations of used cell phones that are used to provide support and assistance to participating law enforcement entities and charitable organizations that provide services to victims throughout the United States. Nonprofit organizations that choose to participate in the program are asked to collect used phones and send them to the Cell Phone Bank. A donation is made for each phone received. Depending on condition and technology, some donated phones are recycled while others are refurbished and provided to participating law enforcement agencies as needed. You can send phones to them in the mail with a downloadable label or request a pickup if you have ten or more.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

NCADV takes donated cell phones and sells them through Cellular Recycler to raise money for their organization. In addition to phones they also take laptops, MP3 players, video game systems and phone accessories like chargers, cords, and cases. If you donate three or more items, you can get free shipping to mail your items directly to them. Otherwise you can print out a shipping label and pay the shipping for one or two items to their headquarters in Colorado.

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Cell Phones for Soldiers collects used cell phones and accessories. Donations are sold to a business that recycles this type of equipment. The money raised is used to purchase calling cards for deployed military troops and their families. If you have a phone that you'd like to donate, visit the organization's website and browse the online drop off point directory to find a place to make your donation. The organization's website also provides information on how you can set up an official donation collection station if you are interested in getting involved on a large scale. You also have the option of mailing your cell phone directly to them using either self-paid or pre-paid postage.

Recycling for Charities

Charitable organizations looking for a way to raise money can sign up to participate in the Recycling for Charities program. Individuals and groups that donate old phones to be recycled are able to select the nonprofit they'd like to support from the list of participating charities when they print shipping labels for their donations. The selected charity receives a cash donation for each phone donated on its behalf. Donations are recycled and sold, making this program a win-win arrangement for the company collecting the equipment, the charities that benefit financially from donations and the environment.

Second Wave Recycling

Second Wave Recycling will take donations of used cellphones that are working or non-working, as well as tablets. They sell the phones to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. All you need to do is download a self-paid shipping label from their website if you have one or two items, or a pre-paid shipping label if you have three or more. If you have over 100 items, they can arrange for special shipping arrangements.

Medic Mobile

Medic Mobile's mission is to fund healthcare programs in 26 countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. They will take donated cell phones and sell them and use the funds to support their programs, specifically using it to purchase much-needed technology for doctors and healthcare workers to operate more efficiently. Phones do not need to be working to be donated. You can print a free shipping label and download your charitable deduction receipt right from their website.

Eco-Cell

This company is based in Kentucky and has bins where you can drop off your phone. The bins are placed at several zoos around the country with a list available on their website. This might seem like an unusual location, but it fits with ECO-CELL's mission to help protect endangered gorillas and chimpanzees whose natural habitat is disrupted by mining for cell phone materials. ECO-CELL will sell usable phones and return part of the money back to you and part of the funds will go to their non-profit partners, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and the Cincinnati Zoo. You can also ship phones and other mobile gadgets directly to ECO-CELL. If any items cannot be resold, ECO-CELL will make sure that they are recycled and do not contribute to increasing the size of landfills.

Secure the Call

This non-profit organization takes unwanted cell phones and uses them to make cell phones for people who may need them only to dial 911. They primarily go to people at risk such as domestic violence victims and seniors. The phones are distributed through over 425 community partner non-profits around the country as well as law enforcement offices. If a phone cannot be refurbished for emergency use, they are recycled and sold to raise funds for the organization. There are shipping labels, both self-paid and pre-paid, that you can download from the website and use to ship the phones to Secure the Call. You are welcome to use the pre-paid label for only one phone, although paying for shipping yourself will help the organization to save money.

1Million Project

The 1Million Project Foundation is dedicated to providing mobile devices to high school children in low-income communities who can use them to help bridge the education gap. The foundation also helps fund high-speed internet in these areas. Through the efforts of Sprint's 1Million Project, you can donate your used cell phone to the foundation. You can fill out the form on their website to create a shipping label to send your cell phone or tablet device in, as well as donate funds straight to the project.

Veterans Advantage

This non-profit provides benefits for active duty military, veterans and their families on services like prescription drugs, financial planning and insurance. They will take used cell phones, as well as laptops, tablets, printer cartridges, ereaders and any other small, portable electronic devices. If you send 15 items, a pre-paid shipping label can be sent to you via email. Otherwise, if you have 14 or under items, you must pay for shipping to their offices in Loveland, CO.

Donate Cell Phones and Make a Difference

The next time you upgrade to a new cell phone, don't toss your old unit in the trash. Instead, donate it to a charitable organization that collects, reprograms and refurbishes this type of equipment to give to people who are in need. Choose one of the national organizations described above or look for a similar program in your local community.

Where and How to Donate Old Cell Phones for Charity