For this month’s article, I would like to spotlight Meghan French, my former neighbor and a student at Dripping Springs High School. Here are Meghan’s thoughts on Purposeful Donating.
I am an Ambassador Girl Scout and over the past nine months, I worked on my Girl Scout Gold Award project. I am finishing my twelfth year in Girl Scouts and my final project is designed to serve the community. My project was to create and organize a clothing donation room at a non-profit home for boys.
The boys’ home had an abundance of clothing donations that had accumulated over the years. The facility did not have a plan to efficiently handle the donations and make them useful to the boys. During the project, I cleaned and sorted the clothes and then organized the clothes on shelves and hangers. The staff could then easily access the clothing to outfit new residents as they arrived at the center.
I spent the majority of my time sorting through the clothing looking for holes, rips, stains, outdated styles, worn out items, or missing buttons and zippers. Even though the mission of the non-profit is to serve teenage boys, I found that the donations also included five percent women’s clothing and infant-related items. After careful examination, I discovered that twenty percent of the donations were not relevant or useful to the boys.
At this point in the project, I realized that it would be a good idea to remind donors to be purposeful in their donating. When you donate, it comes from a place of generosity and humility with the best of intentions. You are giving up something you own with the idea that it will be useful to someone else. I do want to encourage donations, but as I was sorting through the 2,600 pieces of clothing, it was clear that donors’ good intentions were not always helpful to the boys’ home. Some items were simply not appropriate for the end user – used socks and underwear, for example.
Be Thoughtfully Generous
I saw that in this community, people are willing to generously donate. The willingness to donate is not enough, though, and the donor should research the needs of the recipient. In most cases, the donor can refer to the organization’s website or Facebook page to find a list of acceptable donations. If the requirements are not listed on those sites, the donor can make a phone call to the organization and ask what they need or can take. The bottom line is that it costs the organization valuable time and resources to sort through donations and figure out what to do with excess or unusable items.
As you consider potential donations, ask yourself these questions:
- Who can best use this item?
- Is it in good condition (no stains, rips, holes, or broken parts)?
- Can it be used by anyone at the organization?
- Does the item portray an idea or subject that the beneficiary may find offensive?
- Should the item be discarded or recycled?
- Is my donation going to cost the organization time and money to deal with it?
These may seem like obvious questions, but if you do not consider them they could prevent donations from being useful. Charities make the best use of donated items if they are inspected, thoughtfully sorted, and donated to the most appropriate organizations.
How to Be a Purposeful Donor
To summarize, here are some common sense tips on how to be a purposeful donor:
- Research or contact the recipient organization to make sure your donations are relevant and useful. Look up or contact the organization to see their donation policy.
- Thoroughly inspect all items for rips, holes, stains, or broken parts, etc.
- Clean your donations! No one wants to sort through smelly or dirty items.
- Label donation packaging with type and size of items. This is especially helpful if items may go into storage for a while.
- Never donate used underwear or socks. Instead, provide new, unopened packages of socks and underwear.
- Make it a point to donate regularly! There is always an organization in need of something and your donation could be the answer to that need.
Thank you for your purposeful donations!
© Passion for Order 2016