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Home / Articles / Ending Domestic Violence / How Do I Donate Items to Shelters?

How Do I Donate Items to Shelters?

Tips for making the biggest impact on domestic abuse with your in-kind donations

How Do I Donate Items to Shelters?

Whether you’re full-on Marie Kondo-ing your way through your home or you just have some household goods lying around you’re looking to get rid of, donating your excess clutter to a domestic shelter is a great way to reuse it. But how should you go about doing this? What do they need and where do you take it to? Here are some ideas:

Find a Shelter to Donate To

Once you’ve identified the items that no longer give you joy but might give someone else joy, search for a local shelter to donate to. Contact the shelters in your area first to make sure they’re in need of the items you’re donating. Some shelters are limited on space and only need specific things, while other shelters welcome any and all donations.

Items most often needed include:

  • Cell phones and tablets
  • Household items, such as brooms, trashcans and dish towels
  • Unopened toiletries
  • Nonperishable foods
  • Baby care items, such as diapers, wipes, formula, food, hygiene kits and socks
  • And gift cards of any amount.

Shop the Wish List

If you’re more inclined to gift new items, even better. Check your local shelters’ wish lists here on where you can find exactly what they’re in need of, and send them those items in just a few clicks. See "A New Type of Workplace Fundraiser" to learn how one company got their whole staff involved in Wish List giving.

Donate and change a life

Your support gives hope and help to victims of domestic violence every day.

Look for Nonprofit Thrift Shops

Some domestic violence programs operate thrift shops where they sell donated items to raise money for their shelters or services. Others partner with nearby thrift shops that sell the items on their behalf and give them credit or gift cards to get items they need. 

Ask your local shelters if they partner with any donation centers such as Goodwill and how to donate there so the shelter will benefit. You’ll either need to notify the collection site that you’re donating on a shelter’s behalf or you’ll need to collect a donation receipt and provide it to the shelter so they can get credit. These collections are generally more accepting of all different types of items as opposed to items that would be used in shelter.

Repair, or Upcycle and Sell

With a little elbow grease, many items you no longer use could easily be given new life. Sometimes all it takes is a little paint or deep cleaning to make something look nearly new again. If you’re crafty or handy, consider reimagining your goods and selling them online—places like Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Craig’s List and Poshmark (for clothing) are great places to start. Then, consider donating your profits to a shelter. Peruse Pinterest and YouTube for upcycling ideas. 

Find a Home for Old Cell Phones

Who doesn’t have an electronics graveyard in their garage? Round up your old cell phones, digital cameras, laptops and gaming systems and ship them off to Cellular Recycler, where the items are refurbished and sold. The proceeds are then donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. If you donate three or more items at a time, shipping is free. Just print a shipping label and drop off at any FedEx location.

Want to make an even bigger impact? Involve your coworkers. Find out how in “A New Type of Workplace Fundraiser.”