Is your Donation Helping Others?

Are you feeling generous this season? Is your company looking for where it can reach their annual taxable donation quota? Tis the season for giving and Nerds Abroad is here to help.

In the midst of all of the holidays drawing near, we wanted to share some insights about donating physical goods. Not all donations are helpful, some can be hurtful!

As a non-profit, we are well experienced with donations of physical goods (link to program page or blog about this.). We subscribe to a framework based on a book called “When Helping Hurts” by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, which addresses donation issues such as giving away those mismatching socks or old shoes you do not wear anymore, for example. These are not the best method for giving. We have done a lot of research around this area because when Nerds Abroad became a non profit back in 2014, we wanted to see technology education and donations be done in a different way; differently than how other nonprofits and organizations operate. We found that in the same way that it is not helpful to give away your old belongings, sometimes your old technology is just as useless.

In “When Helping Hurts,” Corbett and Fikkert talk about the giving process and how it can actually hinder a community. If we give a community all of our old donations, we are taking away from the entrepreneurs and local market because what they may have bought locally, they no longer need from our donations. Obviously, relief work is great and much needed with our past fall season, but in the long run, we want to be giving organizations the funds and resources to be able to help the communities build themselves back up to be sustainable and economical.

We have successfully re-homed and recycled over 100 computers systems since we started in 2014

Over time in our organization, we have noticed that some items are helpful and some items immediately go to the recycler. Items that have metal value get scrapped while most unusable items go to Goodwill (Goodwill in Oregon is a certified e-cycler). Other items we found we couldn’t use are old printers, desktops of CRT monitors, like the one below. We found quickly these are not reusable and mostly just take up space in our office.

Your best way to get rid of these things if you have them lying around is to donate to your nearest Goodwill, or other certified e-cycler (link above). However, here is a list of items that are in need this season:

  • Windows 7 and newer laptops desktop
  • Any Apple or Mac products
  • Flat panel monitors

As a courtesy for any donation, we will backup your files to our cloud server for you to access. We will also destroy/wipe your old data from the system.

Technology that is donated to us is refurbished, rehomed, and put back into service in churches, schools, families in need, and organizations around the world. Systems are rebuilt for stability and longevity and always use legal software. We also give training and consulting as needed, and tie the placement to specific learning outcomes.

In conclusion, please think about your donations this year. Are they going to an organization that is pouring into the community which they are sponsoring through helping the local entrepreneurs and economy? Are they taking away jobs and resources from that local community? In contrast, sometimes the best donation you can give is your time or your financial contribution.

A few other ways to give this season are through Amazon Smile and through Giving Assistant. Both of these organizations will help you with your online shopping while also giving to the local nonprofits you support, like Nerds Abroad! Check them out.