How to Donate a Car, Hair, and Other Unusual Items to Charity
Have you ever wondered how you could donate a car to charity? Did you know that you could also donate your hair to charity after a major haircut?
Whether you just want to make sure that you aren’t being wasteful, or if you have a strong desire to help out a favorite charity, these ideas create a win-win scenario where you help a non-profit and often receive a tax deduction for your generosity (be sure to ask for a donation receipt).
See below for more ideas on where to donate car for charity, donating other vehicles to charity, and lots of other ways to give new life to items that you no longer need.
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Unusual Items to Donate to Charities
Some items are easier to donate than others — for instance there are many places like Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and Salvation Army that will accept old books, clothes, and furniture. However, you may also be able to help a charity with your donation of some unusual items as well. Read more below about donating unusual items for charity.
Many organizations are able to take donations of cars, boats, motorcycles, trailers, and more! Visit these websites to learn more about how your old car (or other vehicle) can be donated to charity. In many cases it is an acceptable donation no matter what condition it is in!
When you have a major haircut that includes chopping off 10 inches of hair or more, you can donate the ponytail / braid of your clipping to Locks of Love, who provides hairpieces for those who have lost their hair due to medical treatments. Colored and permed hair is acceptable! Learn more on the Locks of Love website.
Donate Old Cell Phones
There are multiple ways to donate an old cell phone to give it new life for seniors, soldiers, and those in unsafe communities. You can mail in your phone (with or without prepaid shipping) via groups like Secure the Call, or find drop off locations locally where an old phone can be dropped off.
Donate Used Holiday & Greeting Cards
This St Jude’s Ranch for Children charity gives abused kids the chance to recycle cards and learn life and work skills. See St. Jude’s website for more details.
Donate Luggage and Duffel Bags
Join It’s My Bag in providing kids in foster care with a bag to carry their belongings to their new home(s). Donations that will help the kids include luggage, duffel bags, and book bags.
There are a handful of different drop off locations in places around North America inlcuding Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington (state), and Canada.
Donate Old Eyeglasses
The Lions Club accepts your old eyeglasses at locations around the world and redistributes them to those in need. Visit their website to find the best way for you to donate your eyeglasses. You may also donate to New Eyes via mail or by using drop off locations.
Donate Used Bicycles and Sewing Machines
Help out Pedals for Progress with your donation of a used bike or sewing machine. They will refurbish products where needed which will keep them out of landfills and allow them to be used by people in need overseas.
Donate Used Computers and Other Technology
Donate the National Christina Foundation by using the online Non-Profit Locator to find charities and schools right down the road that are in need of equipment like yours.
Commonly donated items include PC Desktop Systems, PC Laptop Systems, Mac Desktop Systems, Mac Laptop Systems, PC CPU (Partial System)s, All-In-One Units, Answering Machines, CDROM Drives, Copiers, Digital Cameras, Pen/Drawing Tablets, Fax Machines, Flatbed Scanners, Hard Disk Drives, Keyboards, Modems, Switch or Routers, Monitors, Mice, Tablet or PDAs, Network Interface Cards, Plotters, Printers, Software Items, Sound Cards, Video Cards, and other miscellaneous items.
Donate Old Trophies
With the abundance of programs that provide trophies these days, you are bound to have a handful that don’t need to be on permanent display or kept for nostalgic purposes. You can send these in to Lamb Awards & Engraving to help recycle unwanted trophies and keep them out of landfills.
Donate Old Prosthetic Limbs
Prosthetic limbs can not be reused in the United States for legal reasons, but there are a number of charities who accept prosthetics and refurbish them to be used by landmine victims and other patients in need. Check these groups to find a suitable place for your prostethic limb donation:
- Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics
- Bowman-Siciliano Limb Bank Foundation
- Hope to Walk
- Limbs for Life Foundation
- Penta-A Joint Initiative
- Prosthetic Hope International
- Range of Motion Project (ROMP)
- Standing With Hope
Donate Old Towels & Linens
A shelter pet doesn’t care if your old towel has a couple of frays or bleached spots on it, but they will definitely feel better with a soft place to curl up while waiting to be adopted into a forever home. These items are often welcome at your vet’s office as well.
Donate Old Hearing Aids
The Starkey Foundation Hear Now program provides hearing aids to those who are unable to afford the devices on their own. Donate cash or recycle old hearing aids to the program via mail.
Donate Your Organs
Finally, we can continue to benefit others even after we die. As none of us are able to take our organs with us, we may as well give someone else the chance at life by donating our organs when we die. This website has information on how donors and recipeients are matched and how you can sign up as an organ donor.
Donate Assets to Charities
Charities are almost always in need of cash donations, but there are ways to donate larger assets as well. Consider one of these options for charitable donations of large assets.
Donate Real Estate
While real estate can often be a great investment, there are times when your property may be worth more to you as a tax deduction. Visit Helping Hands of America to learn more about donating your real estate asset to charity.
Many non-profit groups have the ability to accept donations of stock or mutual funds including The Nature Conservancy, Humane Society, Helping Hands of America, and Save the Children. This will benefits the charity but can include personal benefits like avoiding capital gains taxes, receiving a tax deduction, and being able to make a larger gift to your favorite cause.
If you are one of the many timeshare owners that no longer wants or uses their timeshare, you may benefit from donating it to a charity. Selling a timeshare usually involves many costs including advertising costs, recording fees, title fees, resort transfer fees, and commissions. Donating your timeshare may save you from these expenses while also providing a tax benefit for the donation.
Donate Rewards Currencies (FF Miles & Hotel Points) to Charities
Making a donation to a charity doesn’t always need to cost you anything out of your pockets. If you have some rewards currencies that you don’t expect to use, then consider putting them to use by donating them to a charity of your choice. This can be very beneficial if you have some rewards points that are about to expire and you don’t have enough to spend on a free trip or stay.
Donate Airline Frequent Flyer Miles
There are a handful of airlines that make it simple to donate your frequent flyer miles one of many charities. Check out these options
Delta Air Lines makes it easy to donate your SkyMiles to a wide variety of great charities. Although the SkyMiles do not expire, it may make sense to donate your miles if you don’t think you’ll be able to collect enough miles to take a free trip or spend on travel perks. Click below to learn more about your SkyMiles donation options inlcuding:
- American Red Cross
- Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF)
- Canine Assistants
- Children’s Miracle Network
- Fisher House Foundation – Hero Miles
- Habitat For Humanity
- Luke’s Wings
- Make-A-Wish America®
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Salvation Army
There are lots of great charities where you can donate your United Airlines miles. Miles in the MileagePlus program will expire when there is no account activity for a period of 18 months… so you may as well do some good with any points and donate them to your favorite charity. Click below to learn more about these great organizations:
- Air Camp Providing a hands-on, educational adventure in aviation and aeronautics
- Airlink Connecting airlines with nonprofits to provide rapid-response humanitarian relief
- American Red Cross Sleeves Up. Hearts Open. All In.
- Americares Foundation, Inc Emergency responders travel to disaster zones around the world as emergencies are unfolding
- Clean The World Recycling soap and hygiene amenities from hotel and travel partners around the world
- Conservation International People need nature — and for over 30 years, Conservation International has worked to protect it
- Dream Foundation Fulfilling final dreams for terminally-ill adults, including veterans
- Fisher House/Operation Hero Miles Providing homes for military and veterans’ families to stay while receiving treatment
- Global Glimpse Empowering students from all walks of life to develop leadership skills
- Guide Dogs of America Expertly matching guide dog partners to blind and visually impaired adults from the U.S. & Canada
- Make-A-Wish International Granting wishes to children with critical illnesses around the world
- Make-A-Wish America Creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses
- MD Anderson Cancer Center Eliminating cancer in Texas, the nation and the world
- Mercy Medical Angels Removing the barrier to medical care by providing free transportation on the ground and in the air
- Shriners Hospitals for Children The finest pediatric specialty health care system in the world
- Special Olympics Providing year-round sports training and athletic competition, and fostering inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities
- The Ayuda Foundation Delivering medical, human services and developmental assistance throughout the Pacific region
- Transplant Recipients International Org Improving the quality of life of transplant candidates
- US Olympic Team Supporting U.S. Olympic & Paralympic athletes both on and off the field
- United Service Organizations Strengthening America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country
Donate Hotel Points
Many hotel groups make it easy to donate your hotel points in order to help some great charities. This can be a great use of accrued points that are about to expire — why not put them to use by donating them to charity! You can donate to lots of different charities including Fisher House/Operation Hotels for Heros (provides homes for military and veterans’ families to stay while receiving treatment).
Click below to learn more about how these hotels allow for easy point donation.
- Best Western
- Choice Hotels
- IHG Rewards Club
- La Quinta Inns & Suites
- Radission Rewards
In addition to these ideas for donating unusual items to charity, did you know that you can also earn store rewards when you recycle certain items? Check out other great recycling posts to learn how to earn rewards when Recycling Electronic Waste, Recycling Household Waste, Recycling Clothing & Shoes, and Recycling Personal Care & Beauty Products.