What are the best and worst charities to donate to?

Junk Removal Advice:

As you move through adulthood, junk accumulates in your life. Most of it might be in your home, but you might also have it in a garage, a storage shed, or even a second home. Sooner or later, you need to deal with it, but donating it to charity can turn a bad situation around. That’s assuming, of course, that you choose the right charity. In this article, we will discuss the best charities to donate to and the worst charities to donate to.

Why You Might Start Junk Removal

You might have the intention of decluttering and freeing your life of junk every single time that you see it with your own eyes. However, there are specific triggers that might actually make you do it:

  • Moving
  • Creating space for a new member of the family
  • Cleaning out an inherited home
  • A desire for spring cleaning
  • Getting ready for home renovations
  • Looking to stop making payments on a storage unit
  • Freeing up room in a garage, basement, or attic for something else
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Benefits of Donating to Charities

All that stuff has to go somewhere, but you might not cherish the thought of just sending it all to a landfill. Charitable donations have their benefits:

  • Recycle/re-purpose items that still have value to help the environment
  • Support charities trying to make a positive difference in society
  • Get receipts for your donations to count towards tax credits and deductions
  • Some of them will even arrange to pick up items from your home so you don’t have to transport them
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Sorting Out Donations

Sorting out potential donations takes a bit of work. It might help to have a friend or family member help you see your possessions from a neutral perspective:

  1. Hunt Out Candidate Items: Go through your inventory of unwanted items and pick out things that might have new life or purpose somewhere else.
  2. Note the Condition: Assess the quality of items. Broken and unworking items might not be accepted.
  3. Think of Which Charity Can Use What: Not all charities will take all items. You’ll read possibilities below if you don’t know where things might go, and if you have multiple options, then you might just decide which particular charities reflect your personal beliefs best about what’s important.
  4. Estimate Each Item’s Value: This responsibility will often fall on you if you’re looking for tax receipts you can use for deductions.
  5. Remember, You Can’t Donate All Junk: Each charity will have its own lists of what they do and don’t take.

Common guidelines might look like this:

Acceptable Donation

  • Antiques
  • Art supplies
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Crafting kits
  • Electronics, including computers and laptops
  • Home decor
  • Houseware
  • Jewelry
  • Kitchenware
  • Toys and games
  • Shoes, mittens, gloves, scarves, and hats

Unacceptable Donations

  • Batteries
  • Old tires
  • Broken and chipped items, particularly glass
  • Broken car seats
  • Hazardous chemicals and cleaning supplies
  • Food items, perishable or otherwise
  • Stained furniture
  • Weapons, ranging from bullets to swords

The Best Charities to Donate To

While there are many worthwhile charities out there, seven of them in particular stand out for the good they do while also accepting unwanted possessions and used consumer goods, also known as junk. Look for the following options in your community:

AMVETS National Service Foundation

Since 1944, this service has been helping veterans of the American military. Operating in 22 different states with both donation pick-ups and physical stores, they can help you be of assistance to those who serve with job training courses and community outreach programs.

Who They Help:

  • War veterans
  • Active-duty service members
  • The honorably discharged

What They Take:

  • Bedding
  • Bikes
  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Fashion accessories
  • Games and toys
  • Small furniture
  • Small electronic appliances
  • Fitness equipment, personal computers, and televisions less than five years old
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Furniture Bank Network

This organization operates in 34 different states. The items they accept go directly to people who need home furnishings but are unable to afford them.

Who They Help:

  • Immigrants
  • Women and kids escaping from domestic violence
  • People working but also in poverty
  • Former homeless

What They Take:

  • Furniture
  • Used passenger vehicles
  • Pre-owned recreational vehicles

Pick-ups aren’t available in all locations, but you can search area availability by visiting their website.

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This is one of the more famous organizations to take donated items. Founded in 1902, they currently have over 2,800 stores across North America. Donated items are sold at deep discounts to people in need, and the raised money goes to a variety of different initiatives.

Who They Help:

  • Job training programs
  • Employment placement services
  • Classes
  • Community programming
  • The young
  • Seniors
  • People with disabilities
  • Ex-prisoners trying to resume a normal life

What They Take:

  • Art
  • Books
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Housewares
  • Shoes and clothing
  • Toys and games

Finding local pick-up services means contacting local stores directly, but you can visit their website to find them.

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Habitat for Humanity

Founded back in 1976, this organization focuses on affordable and decent housing around the globe for those in need. Habitat ReStores are a chain of thrift stores across America that take donations to fund these efforts.

Who They Help:

  • Domestic families needing affordable housing
  • International housing efforts

What They Take:

  • Building materials
  • Electronic appliances
  • Furniture
  • Various household items

Visit their store locator to find locations near you. Contact them directly to find out about pick-up service availability and details.

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Pickup Please

This program supports the VVA, or Vietnam Veterans of America. They don’t have as many locations as the rest of this list, but they do usually provide pick-up services in only 24 hours of notice, which can help if you’re in a time crunch.

Who They Help:

  • Veterans of all American wars
  • Veterans of all ages
  • Disabled veterans
  • Homeless veterans
  • Issues surrounding minority and women veterans

What They Take:

  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Household items
  • Smaller home furnishings
  • Sports equipment
  • Tools
  • Toys

Find out if local pick-up services are available in your area by visiting their website where you can input your ZIP code.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army might be the first place you think of. Their branding is undeniably successful, given their more than 150 years of operations and locations in over 7,000 cities and towns. Donated items are either given directly to those that need such things or sold through their stores.

Who They Help:

  • Victims of natural disasters
  • Seniors
  • At-risk youth
  • Domestic violence victims
  • Victims of human trafficking

What They Take:

  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Mattresses
  • Various appliances and household items
  • Used vehicles

Schedule a pick-up by visiting their website and putting your ZIP code in.

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The Arc

This organization has been helping individuals with a variety of developmental and intellectual disabilities for over 70 years. With more than 700 community chapters across America, they raise funds partly through thrift stores using donated items.

Who They Help:

  • Children with developmental disabilities
  • Adults with mental disabilities

What They Take:

  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Games and toys
  • Housewares
  • Used passenger vehicles

Schedule your donation pick-up with Arc be either:

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The Worst Charities to Donate To

Charitable donations are a great way for those with extra funds or items to make a difference in the lives of those who need help. Unfortunately, not all of that money heads where you think it does. While any charity is going to have operating expenses that eat a percentage of donations or funds raised from sold items, some of them are far worse than others. The following are 10 of the worst offenders you should watch out for:

  1. American Breast Cancer Foundation: This foundation makes the list because it rates only two of four total stars by Charity Navigator, a watchdog over charitable organizations. Supposedly dedicated to funding free breast exams and health education for women, there’s scant evidence that money or resources sent through this organization actually make it to patients in need.
  2. Breast Cancer Relief Foundation: Millions of dollars have been routed through this organization with the claimed intention of sending medical supplies to a variety of developing nations. In actuality, only 2 percent of all the donations actually wind up assisting patients with breast cancer.
  3. Cancer Fund of America: Less than 3 percent of all donations actually go to cancer research or patients. On the other hand, the charity leader earns a salary of nearly a quarter million dollars per year.
  4. Children’s Wish Foundation: This charity is a shady organization that’s clearly trying to look like the far more famous and effective Make-a-Wish Foundation. The names are so similar that confusion often results. The foundation executive has a substandard personal reputation in her own right, making this group suspicious to say the least.
  5. Committee for Missing Children: This group claims that they help return missing kids to their families. In actuality, only 2 percent of their donations actually wind up helping this cause. Most of the rest winds up in the wallets and bank accounts of the leaders of the organization.
  6. National Caregiving Foundation: This foundation claims to help out with assisted living facilities, healthcare scholarships, and educational kits about mental illness. All are undeniably worthy causes, except there’s no evidence any of it actually happens. What there is a paper trail of is the director’s six-digit salary.
  7. Operation Lookout National Center for Missing Youth: The stated goal of the married couple running this center is offering assistance to those families who have missing kids. What they actually do is siphon off over 80 percent of their donations, placing the funds in the pockets of their solicitors. There’s a reason they’re already banned in two states.
  8. Police Protection Fund: The two founders have already twice formed foundations or organizations to defraud American generosity to supposedly help law enforcement. Yet, less than 1 percent of the funds actually make it to actual cops. The rest winds up with the founders and their lawyers.
  9. United States Deputy Sheriffs’ Association: This organization’s shenanigans have resulted in the headquarters being moved to another state and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines across three states.
  10. Youth Development Fund: Trying to set teenagers susceptible to drug and alcohol use on the straight and narrow path is an honorable goal. Unfortunately, the group executive siphons off most of the donations to fund video productions.

Drawbacks of Donating to Charities

For all the advantages of making charitable donations, there can be some downsides you’ll have to be mindful of:

  • Stringent requirements about items and condition
  • Inconvenient pickup times
  • They might only do cost-effective pick-ups where the volume of donations justifies the trip
  • No actual pickup services
  • Local restrictions due to pandemic outbreaks might temporarily suspend pick-up operations
  • They don’t offer receipts for tax purposes
  • Not-for-profits portraying themselves as nonprofits
  • Scammers lurking among the good-hearted

Beware the Holidays

Many people love donating things during the holidays because part of the theme is it being the season of giving and making a real difference. On a more practical level, many just donate things to make room for incoming gifts or to get some charitable deductions before the end of the year for tax purposes. Unfortunately, this is a high season for scam artists, too, so watch out for pop-up charities that show up out of the blue. Some are legit, but many are not.

You can verify the tax-deductible status of charities, thanks to the IRS website at apps.irs.gov/app/eos/.

Is Hiring a Professional Junk Removal Company Easier?

Sorting out your unwanted possessions by the charity they might go to and then arranging the donations might take up more time than you actually have. Hiring a professional junk removal company does offer the advantage of having everything taken out in one fell swoop.

Even if you do go through your things and donate as much as you can for charitable giving or for a tax-deductible donation, you might still have stuff remaining, so a professional junk removers might be your end game anyway.

To find out what items junk removal companies will not take, click here.

Want to donate broken car, click hereto learn more.

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Junk Removal Advice services the following cities in Florida: Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Estero, Golden Gate City and Fort Myers. Book your free no-obligation quote by clicking here.

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