Has Anyone Actually Donated a Cell Phone Recently

Updated on April 19, 2018
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
9 answers

I am doing some cleaning/going through stuff and ran across an "old" cell phone of my husband. It is in working order, only a couple years old, has a case - no real street value, but hey, definitely not garbage. So I figure I would donate it. Every place I have checked online, once you actually get to their donation page and the nitty gritty, either no longer accepts them for donation or wants to charge a fee to ship to them so they can avoid the shipping charges.

Is it just that donating cell phones is really no longer a thing? I don't think you would throw them in the garbage (can't be good for the environment), but honestly I'm not really wanting to pay to donate something, either. I live quite rural so I don't have a place that I can drop it off that might have use for it like a senior center, woman's shelter or other charitable organization. We don't belong to a local church anymore, so offering it to the church for a parishioner in need isn't a workable idea, either.

I actually was going to donate 2 laptops and the phone and a game system, but it just doesn't seem that anyone wants these things anymore . . . am I missing something? An idea of where might send me a prepaid shipping sleeve and put these items to good use?


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answers from Washington DC on

I have gone to Best Buy to drop off older electronics.

I have Verizon and they have a drop box for older cell phones. I have given 3 old phones to them. I am told they reset to factory setting and give to homeless shelters for people to use.

If you have a Verizon store near you? or whatever carrier you use? Call them and ask what they do with older phones. Is there a charity they help out?

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Las Vegas on

Even if you don't have any local organizations that take them, can you research women and children's shelters that are in nearby cities who might want them? Then, next time you go into the city, you could drop them off. Many shelters are interested in taking usable electronics, particularly cell phones, for women in need.

In addition, you don't have to belong to a particular church or religious institution to have them take your donation. Even in rural areas, there are places of worship. You might call them to ask if there is a family in need of the items you have. It would certainly be a blessing to those families.

We had some old but usable laptops and gave them to a man who, along with his son-in-law, refurbished old computers to take on their missions to Africa. We don't belong to their religion, but it didn't matter. They were very grateful to have them and shared with us how helpful the laptops were to the children there.

Finally, you could always look on craigslist or offer up in the wanted sections. There may be people within driving distance who would be grateful to have the items you wish to donate.
If this is the route you go, just make sure to do the transaction in a public place for safety and security reasons.

Just remember to wipe the hard-drives and restore to factory settings before donating.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I'd offer it up on Nextdoor, Craigslist or Freecycle. If no takers you can safely dispose of electronics locally, check with your garbage service for info.
Not sure why you can't offer it to a local church just because you don't attend (?) I make donations to churches and other religious charities all the time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

i kept my old phones. and it saved me from an emergency. (long story short, my phone crapped out the night before we had to leave on vacation. i called the provider and they said they could activate any phone that was previously used on the account, i had them activate the old one i kept and used that for the vacation. when i returned from vacation i was able to deal with the broken phone situation without needing to rush about it)
you could try facebook buy sell trade or craigs list and see if anyone near you is looking for what you have.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I can't see a church turning down a donation just because you don't worship there! Give your old church a call or call another church in town. Even if they don't know someone who could use it, they might be able to tell you where you can take it.

Where did you buy the phone? Years ago (before smart phones) I gave me old phones to Sprint. I thought the phone companies collected them and gave them to shelters. Also, we have a couple of shops in town that fix cell phones/tablets/computers. They would definitely take them to refurbish or resell or just use for parts.

You could even try Gamestop. They take phones/tablets/gaming systems.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

If you just want to get rid of stuff without filling up a landfill, I recommend both Freecycle and Facebook Marketplace (you can sell, but also put your selling price as $0 to give stuff away). I've given away a lot of stuff through those sites to people who can use it. Just make sure the laptop hard drive is completely erased.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Do you have to be a member of a church to donate to them? If they are helping parishioners, I would think they would take it from anyone.

Call your local police department (or that of the nearest good-sized town, and ask to speak to the domestic violence officer. Or call the National Domestic Violence hotline. Ask either/both if there's a local shelter who can use it - they won't give you the address of the shelter (safety reasons) but may tell you of a drop-off location. You can also call the phone store or the manufacturer to see if there's a program you haven't heard about. Believe it or not, there are programs that don't update websites, so sometimes a good old-fashioned phone call can get you more info than on-line searches.

Have you tried Freecycle? People pick up for free if they need the item you have - these are usually individuals and not organizations, so you wouldn't get a tax deduction but you would save the environment (a good thing!).

I just went to a program on Puerto Rico, and learned that there are 500 families in my area who have evacuated after 6 months with no power. They came with a few clothes and nothing else. So I've organized big donation collections of "apartment kits" for people finally getting out of FEMA housing and into apartments. I got a list of what they need and how to pack it, for families of 4-6 people. They need almost everything: silverware, dishes, pots/pans, coffee makers, pot holders, sheets/blankets/towels, you name it. I would think cell phones and laptops would be amazing for people who've lost everything to wind or flood or who couldn't bring "luxuries" with them. One of the people I'm working with is an area administrator for Catholic Charities - why not call one near you to see what they need?

I don't know of many charities that have money to send you prepaid shipping sleeves, but if you find one place that will take laptops and phones, the Postal Service has fixed rate boxes in different sizes: "If it fi, it ships." So while you'd have to incur some expense, you can keep i to a minimum. For heavy items like electronics, it's much, much cheaper to use this. Check with them first about requirements in shipping electronics though.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

Your cell phone could be donated in the recycling area in the front of Target stores. The laptops and game system I think you could look up "Good News'.

They are an organization that tries to put technology in the hands of people in 3rd world countries. I am not sure if they have a religious aspect or not. I dropped my stuff off at a local warehouse. They might have a place near you. Otherwise call your local recycling organization for ideas.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I have seen, over the years, several organizations here in Miami, like the Lions Club, that have taken the old cellphones in exchange for things like an aquarium admission, or a youth fair admission. Check and see if your city has something like that. How about calling an inner city school and seeing if they want to take the old laptops for disadvantaged kids who cannot afford laptops? If not, call a women's shelter or a homeless shelter. Many of them take old cellphones and recycle them or give them to the women and kids at the shelter to have for safety purposes.

My city has a women's homeless shelter thrift shop that takes all kinds of donations from furniture to cosmetics and sell them to the general public or give them to homeless women going on job interviews or getting into housing. Do you have something like that? If worse comes to worse, Craigslist, in the "free" section, you could put a curb alert listing saying that there will be a box at the end of the driveway full of used electronics that can be picked up for free, for spare parts, first come, first served. Just make sure to wipe everything off, do a factory restore, before giving it away.

2 moms found this helpful
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