It often happens a charity makes a request to a business for a donation and instead of cash, they are offered product; anything from books, kitchenware to vouchers for services can often be offered.

The dilemma some charities face is what to do with the items – some don’t have the resources to convert these items into cash. What can they do with them?

In general I’d suggest any charity being offered product instead of cash, should where possible accept it. It could be seen as being uncharitable to turn items down, if you say no today, will they offer anything else in the future. Are you willing to take the gamble? I’d suggest accept the items in– you will find a use for them, you’ll likely be able to convert them to cash – all it takes is some thought and planning.

How can goods be converted/traded into cash?

Raffles and sweepstakes

Smaller items can be ‘grouped’ together and a raffle/sweepstake held to convert items into cash.

Depending on where you are these can be held with little red tape depending on the value of the prizes offered.

Get supporters to help sell tickets. Use space on the tickets to help reinforce the message of the work you do in the community.

On Sell, Garage Sale, Online Auctions

As items come in it could be worth looking at the volume and if there is a large enough number of items perhaps you could hold a garage sale.

Supporters and the wider community could help with other items to help make it worthwhile – for visitors.

As well as an opportunity to sell items, a garage sale could be an opportunity to provide some entertainment making for a family event.

This would also give you the opportunity to help educate people about the work you do.

If there are too few items to warrant a garage sale – use an online auction site to sell the goods, relatively easily converting them to cash.

This is relatively simple to do, and would only require regular attention being paid to what bids are coming in, questions about the items being asked, and arranging delivery of sold items.

Charity Auction

A gala event with a charity auction ‘attached’ can reap good rewards.

Hold a gala charity dinner, hold both silent and open auctions – as well as giving supporters the opportunity to mix and mingle, staged right they can be very successful and fun for all concerned.

Both silent and open auctions can often be a bit of fun, with competing companies competing with each other to win the auction.

Entertainment and speeches (brief) help to build the theme for the night and also gives you the opportunity to publicly thank supporters.

You can list items on TradeMe – who generally offer registered charities special offerings, there’s also a relatively new site List Buy Give which may suit your needs.

Next time you’re offered a fridge, vacuum cleaner or other item – think again before saying no. You could convert this to cash!!

What are your experiences, policies on accepting donated goods?

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