When considering an item for donation this giving season, ask yourself “is this item ready to be received?” When an item is given to an organization or charity as a donation, the expectation is that the item should be ready to be given directly to the recipient. Sometimes, in the mayhem of cleaning out a closet or attic, the conditions of items can be overlooked. For an organization, accepting items that require extra laundering, dusting or repair requires more work on behalf of the employees and volunteers. This can create an overwhelming task and delay the giving process for those in need.

We don’t do this with ill intention. When I am doing a deep clean at my house and going through my clutter, I want to make the most of all of my items and ensure that they are going to a good home to someone that can get the most use out of them. However, I must remember that decluttering for me may create clutter for someone else. I must ask myself, ‘would I gift an item in this condition?’ If the answer is no, I must reconsider my donation.

Often times we hear the notion that anything given for free is better than nothing at all. The idea that these items are “better than nothing” is a toxic way to view charitable giving. Giving items that we ourselves deem as trash is doing a disservice to our neighbors. Our goal for our community members is to provide a safe, habitable and productive environment.

The Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition has created an easy-to-follow guide for proper donation etiquette to use when giving to your favorite charity. Following this guide will help ensure that our community members, service workers and you, yourself, get the most of your giving.

By: Karisa Garner, QMHP, PATH Program

How to Give Graciously