December 13, 2023

By taking these small steps and ensuring your donations can be used, you are helping to ensure all volunteers’ time is being used efficiently.

During the holiday season, it is important to remember the importance of giving back to our community. Many different charities and non-profit organizations are desperate for increases in donations. Cold winter weather impacts members of our community and these organizations are on the frontlines caring for them. If you are looking to give this year, let’s cover the basics of charity etiquette.

Charity Etiquette?

While one might think charities would accept any donation, I have volunteered at many non-profit organizations that have had to throw away significant portions of donations. While donations such as clothing, shoes, blankets, furniture, baby items and more are appreciated, there are some other factors to consider.

We never want to discourage you from donating gently used items, but we want to make sure our donations are following the etiquette requested. This will ensure they reach the people in our community who may need them most.


Always contact the organization you plan to donate to first. Most organizations have websites that provide information on items they may be looking for, drop off or pick up times, and things they are NOT looking for.

A quick call or email could save you a trip or redirect your donation to another organization that CAN take everything you are giving.

Donate Quality items.

While donated items are rarely brand new, organizations often have standards to ensure they are providing quality care to the community. Here are some basic guidelines for common donations:

Clothing items: should be clean, stain free, mended, in good condition.

Shoes: matching sets of shoes in good condition. Not too worn or torn.

Furniture: furniture should not be damaged, torn, stained, or show signs of excessive use.

Household goods (appliances, cleaning equipment etc.): make sure they are in good working condition.

Toys/baby items: Do not donate broken toys, stained clothes or used bottles/pacifiers. Another thing to be mindful of is when donating certain car seats and furniture to make sure the items have not been recalled or expired. If a car seat has been in a car accident, it can not be donated, and most car seats expire after 5 years.

Technology: make sure to double check with your charity to make sure they will take technology. Some charities do not accept technology more than 2 years old.

Many Ways to Give

These are just a few ideas to consider when going through gently used items you would like to donate. Most non-profit organizations and charities are helped run by volunteers. By taking these small steps and ensuring your donations can be used, you are helping to ensure all volunteers’ time is being used efficiently.

Remember, even if you do not have gently used items to give, you can create real impact by donating other resources — your time through volunteering or even a monetary donation. Looking for a charity to support? You can use this great tool to find organizations doing work in your community.

Weekly Recipe

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Catherine Kirkhoff

Authored By

Catherine Kirkhoff

Director of Kinetiq Health

Catherine works with our client services team and wellness vendors to empower clients to implement, manage and measure their health and wellness initiatives. She manages the day-to-day activities of the team of analysts and clinicians driving Kinetiq Health program strategy for Apex clients.

Before joining Apex, Catherine worked in public health for six years as a curriculum coordinator for the Marion County Public Health Department. During that time, she earned her CHES and CLS certifications and provided health education throughout the community and schools in Marion County.

Meet Catherine