Incentives to donate unwanted clothes and goods

Friday, February 1, 2013

Readers, would incentives encourage you to recycle your unworn clothing and unused goods?  

I noticed a British friends' status update on facebook:  

"Just had a 2nd email from keech the first email said from the goods I have donated £36 and the 2nd £71!! That's over £100 from stuff I would have thrown away for a good cause :)"

Intrigued to know more, I've investigated how this initiative works:

Keech Hospice Care is a care provider in the UK, specialising in palliative care for adults and children diagnosed with a life-limiting or terminal illness across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes.  As a way of fundraising for their charity, Keech Hospice Care operates 20 high street charity shops, selling a wide range of donated second hand clothing and goods to the general public.

If one donates unwanted goods to any Keech Hospice Care charity shop, and completes a Gift Aid Declaration, the funds raised from the sale of donated goods increase by an extra 25%.

*Gift Aid is a UK tax incentive that enables tax-effective giving by individuals to charities in the United Kingdom *wikipedia

Additionally, one of the requirements of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) specifies that a charity which sells donated goods given by an individual that completes a Gift Aid form, must contact the donor with an update on money their goods have raised.

Surely this would be a great an incentive for others to donate unwanted clothes and household goods, knowing the amount of money their donations have raised for a worthwhile charity?

Another interesting point, legally, the charity is obliged to offer the donor the proceeds from the sale of their donated goods, a snippet taken from an email a donor receives:

"If you wish to claim back this money (less a commission of 1% plus VAT), please contact us in writing at the postal address printed below within 21 days of the date of this letter stating your Donor Reference detailed above. If we do not hear from you, we will assume you wish to donate the money raised."

I'd imagine, that most would not request sale proceeds, but this could be another incentive for more individuals to donate their unworn clothes, and unused goods.

On a separate note, as our technology moves at a rapid rate, and more people download their games, music, and movies, instead of buying discs, entertainment high street retailers are struggling to survive.  The announcement that HMV recently went into administration, perhaps suggests the end of an era in the entertainment industry.

Much in the way that video and cassette tapes are almost obsolete, DVD's and CD's will surely follow suit.  I am sure we can all admit to owning a large volume of discs which perhaps we've replaced with digital copies, packed away in a drawer, unwatched and not listened to anymore.

Another recent recycling initiative came to light recently; is a new service that gives cash for unwanted CDs, DVDs and Games.

"DVDs, CDs, & Games are almost 100% recyclable. The stuff we recycle is made into all sorts of everyday items and we’ve already made 2.6 million ballpoint pens, 1.1 million traffic cones and 7.2 million golf tees in the last 12 months" *musicMagpie

Presently, musicMagpie only operates in USA, United Kingdom and Germany, perhaps there are similar initiatives in other countries too.

Lastly, clothing recycle initiatives are popping up in Europe, with high street retailers started to accept unwanted clothing in exchange for vouchers.  More information here.

Would incentives such as the examples above, encourage you to donate or recycle?



Becky said...

I like to donate anyway--my friends that also enjoy thrifting and I have long referred to it as "thrift store karma". But the incentives are nice--I recently had a store that sells used books and dvds, and will give you either cash or store credit for them. It's nice to trade in unwanted things in my book collection and get new things for it!

Glamour Drops said...

I also donate anyway, but regardless, I think this is a brilliant idea. It's nice to know where the proceeds actually end up. So sad about HMV, but the world is changing at such a rapid rate (eeks, that makes me sounds old, but there you go!).

Anonymous said...

I've of thrift stores in the US giving store credit for donated items, though I think the stores that offer this are run by companies not charities.

Offering a % of the sale may mean that people may be more likely to donate nice items rather than put them on eBay. I'd imagine a lot of people would donate thinking that they would accept the refund but never actually bother to respond to the letter.

Also, I think an added bonus of an an incentive scheme would (hopefully!) be a reduction in people dumping outside of stores.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason that the charity shops have to offer you the money back when you gift aid a donated item is because the government offer the gift aid on money donated and not on items donated. If you agree to donate the money the item has raised (by not reclaiming it) then the charity can then claim the gift aid. The charity I work for black list any customer who claims back the money raised from their donated items.

Littlebearcrafts said...

Hi, I always gift aid when dontating to charity. I just wanted to point out that if someone does claim back the money raised from their donated items then the charity does not receive the 25% gift aid from the government, so in effect the charity loses out in these cases. I only say this in case someone might think that it was a win, win, situation for both parties, which unfortunately it isn't.

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

I guess the incentive would apply to anyone who was considering selling their gear on eBay etc. as a way to coerce them into giving generously. So in that way, I do think it's a clever idea so people can see that their goods are going to help those in need. I would be horrified if someone donated goods and then wanted to claim the money back. Skeptical-me says some would, as it's cheaper than paying auction fees, measuring, photographing items etc. I need no encouragement to donate or recycle as op shops are my first point of call for any household items I need eg. If I need an egg-beater or a cake tin, I'll check out the oppys first, which undoubtedly leads to purchases even if I don't find what I came for. Great post Erica! xo

Anonymous said...

I am a very frequent charity shopper and also a frequent donator, but I've never had a shop mention anything about gift aid to me, nor tell me how much my donations made. Very interesting!

Unknown said...

I've been lucky in one of my line's of work, in mental health, I've been able to get an insiders look into the types of services some of the op shops raise funds for. But I know that a lot of people aren't aware, so I do like to educate them when I can, when they consider donating their clothes. I also seem to be the one they give the clothes to, to take to the charity store. Hey, I'm happy to do so, as long as that's what's happening to the goodies! Kel x

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