Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Freecycle offers new source of donated items

Freecycle offers new source of donated items

If your charity is seeking particular items to be donated, such as a PC screen, a coffee maker, or answerphone, the global yet local Freecycle network might be able to help.

The Freecycle network is dedicated to finding a good home for items that you no longer want or need, and which would otherwise end up in landfill. Using the Web, local Freecycle networks enable those offering items to connect with those looking for them.

The UK has dozens of these networks, and “non-profit groups, schools and charities are … welcome to participate.”

You can offer items, or request items. There is no charge to join or post messages, and no money changes hands in the exchange of goods.

Everything posted “must be free, legal appropriate for all ages”. The network relies on trust and decency and so far it has worked well, growing into a global group of nearly 3,000 communities with over 1.5 million participants.

Its strength of course lies in connecting local people. It’s no use to most charities if someone is donating a ream of computer paper in Inverness when the charity is based in Truro. Using the local networks though ensures that in most cases people can call round to collect the item.

Does it work? UK Fundraising tried it out and joined the Colchester Freecycle network. We offered a new shower curtain rail which received four enquiries and was snapped up within three hours of being posted.

One area in which the Freecycle network seems particularly useful is in its ability to handle second-hand electrical goods. Charity shops can’t touch them because they are legally required to have them tested and certified by a qualified electrician before they can be resold. Now though there is a way of passing on your old radio or camera.

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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