Year-end donations: What nonprofits want, need


This time each year, resale shops and thrift stores are inundated with donations. At times, there might even be lines of vehicles waiting to donate items.

Why late December? There are obvious tax advantages in making donations to charitable 501(c)(3) organizations by Dec. 31. Nonprofits also appreciate the additional inventory as “high season” approaches in Southwest Florida.

Volunteers will gladly help donors unload their donations, but not every item makes it to the showroom floor. Any store – whether it’s a nonprofit’s resale shop or a high-end corporate boutique – only wants to display items that are going to sell. These three factors help store managers decide whether to accept a particular item:

* Condition: Is it new or like-new?

* Demand: Will shoppers want to buy it?

* Resale price: Would it help generate sales revenue that supports the mission?

In recent years, more donors at Guadalupe Resale Shop in North Naples have asked what constitutes a “high-quality” donation. Customers are advised to ask themselves, “Is this something I would give to a friend?” If the answer is yes, then typically that item will have a good value in the resale market. However, if the answer is no, then it’s not likely someone else would purchase it, either.

When considering an end-of-year donation, it’s important to have a plan before cleaning your home and loading donations into your vehicle:

Know Donation Guidelines 

Resale stores have donation rules to guide donors. Guadalupe Resale Shop, for example, accepts donations of quality furniture, home décor, artwork, kitchenware, lamps, linens, DVDs and CDs, books and more, as well as all types of new and gently used ladies’ and men’s clothing, including accessories such as jewelry, purses and nearly new shoes. The Resale Shop does not accept donations of electronics, used household appliances, mattresses, children’s clothing and toys, baby equipment, gardening tools, light fixtures, ceiling fans, armoires, entertainment centers and exercise equipment.

However, other resale stores in Southwest Florida will gladly accept those items. They may either have more shoppers looking for those type of products, or handymen volunteers who can fix electronics and appliances in need of a tune-up.

Check online to see if a resale store publishes its donation guidelines, or call the store ahead of time to ask. Some stores may turn away a donation if they already have a lot of that particular product on the shelves or are lacking ample storage space.

Know the Mission

Thrift stores in Southwest Florida support a variety of charitable causes, including education, youth, housing, hunger, employment and social services. Although a desire to clean the house or capture a tax deduction might have inspired the donation, donors should target a cause that’s near and dear to their hearts.

Resale stores should also make it clear how a donor’s items will support the cause. Guadalupe Resale Shop provides direct support for education programs at Guadalupe Center, which has a mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee. Inside of the store, the Resale Shop plays inspirational, impactful videos on a TV screen to show shoppers how their purchases are creating endless possibilities for the children of Immokalee.

Each time another vehicle pulls into the donation line, it’s one more opportunity to impact the lives of children, seniors, veterans or other groups within our community. Let’s hope the donation line stays long into the new year.