How to donate formal dresses

Written by kate darris
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How to donate formal dresses
Share your formal dress with a teen in need (pretty woman in strapless dress image by Tracy Martinez from

Finding the perfect prom dress is not easy, and after the big night is over, you're stuck with a dress you have no need for. A growing number of young women are donating their gently worn special occasion dresses to charities that provide free prom dresses to low-income teens. It's easy to give the dress that made your night so special new life by donating it to one of many prom charities.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Formal dress
  • Special occasion shoes (optional)
  • Formal jewellery and accessories (optional)

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  1. 1

    Wash or dry clean your formal dress, so that it is fresh and ready to wear.

  2. 2

    Log on to to find a complete index of charities that distribute dresses to low-income and homeless teens. The index is organised alphabetically by state.

  3. 3

    If you would prefer to donate your dress in person, look in the index for a charity in your area. You may also consider volunteering some time to help organise and distribute the dresses when you drop off your donation.

  4. 4

    If you are short on time or cannot find a charity in your area on the index, look at the top of the index page under the "National" heading for organisations that accept donations by mail. The index links to each organisation's website, so you can pick one that appeals to you.

  5. 5

    Jot down the charity's address. Head to the post office where you can buy a mailing box or envelope and send your dress off to make a needy teen's prom dreams come true.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have jewellery, shoes, or a purse that matches your dress, consider donating these accessories too.
  • If you would like to start a dress charity of your own, offers a guidebook for starting a prom dress drive in your own town, which you can download for free.
  • features a photo gallery and stories of how donated dresses have helped real teens in need experience the excitement of attending school dances and proms.
  • If your dress is in less than perfect condition or you've been hanging on to it for more than five years and it's gone out of style, it may not be useful to prom charities. In this case you can donate it to a thrift store. Log onto to find the Goodwill donation site nearest you.
  • If you don't have a dress, but want to contribute to a dress charity, financial donations are always welcome. They are used to buy new make up, undergarments and gift cards for limos and restaurants in order to give teens the complete prom experience.

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