How to Donate Old Computers to Charity

Written by kristine tucker Google
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How to Donate Old Computers to Charity
Donate an old computer to charity. (computer for work image by lidia_smile from

Donating old computers to charity is a rewarding way to give back to society. In this modern age of technology, a second-hand computer can be a valuable and affordable addition to the needs of daily life. Many charitable organisations have specific guidelines for donating used computers, so some basic principles should be followed. Damaged, extremely out-dated and non-functional computers are not usually accepted as charitable donations. Preparation, research and adherence to charitable guidelines will make donating old computers a rewarding experience.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Used computer
  • Computer accessories
  • Original computer software and documentation
  • Disk cleaning software

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  1. 1

    Determine if your old computer can be reused. Computers that are more than 5 years old are not typically accepted by charitable organisations. Take the pre-owned computer to a refurbisher, who can wipe the hard drive clean and assess the computer's condition. A refurbisher makes sure that the computer works well and runs legal copies of software. A refurbisher can donate the computer for you since he works with local charities and schools. Find a computer recycler who waives the refurbishing fees for charitable contributions.

  2. 2

    Contact the charitable organisation before donating a computer. Call the organisation and visit its Web site to make sure that it accepts the type of computer you plan to give away. Research websites, including, Computers with Causes or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for computer donation opportunities. Follow computer delivery instructions. Many recycling and refurbishing organisations have specific locations where equipment can be donated.

  3. 3

    Include the computer accessories with the donation. According to TechSoup, include the keyboard, mouse, printer, modem, packaged software and any other accessories you use with the computer. Schools and non-profit can put them to good use, and most organisations accept only complete systems. Keep the operating system intact. Since charitable organisations usually cannot afford to purchase and license new operating systems, include the operating system software. Provide all original software media and documentation. Include the original disks, media, certificate of authenticity sticker (usually on the computer) and user manual.

  4. 4

    Use disk-cleaning software to clear the computer of personal information. Personal information includes your internet browser's cache, cookies, history, e-mail contacts, e-mail messages, search history, recycled documents and nontransferable software. Follow the instructions on the disk-cleaning software to make sure that the data is not retrievable or identifiable.

  5. 5

    Keep a list of what you donated for your records. Use the computer donation as an eligible tax deduction if you donate to a non-profit organisation. Schools and non-profit refurbishers can provide a tax receipt upon request. According to IRS rules, business donors can deduct the undepreciated value of the computer, and individuals can deduct the current market value of a computer.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid donating to non-registered agencies that might not legitimately recycle the computer.
  • Failure to remove personal information could result in identity theft.

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