pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
[personal profile] pktechgirlbackup
Having taken a stand disparaging charitable gifts of goods over gifts of money, I feel obliged to report that I just donated a physical good. My employers gave me a piece of expensive electronics, and I passed it on to Treehouse For Kids, who will offer it in their !store for foster kids. Here is why I think it was okay:

  • The ratio of dollar value to physical mass and volume is quite high.
  • I already have the device and I'm not allowed to sell it, so giving them money isn't an option.
  • Even if I did give them the money, they don't buy this item in bulk, and while they may sometimes get opportunistic discounts, they do not have a regular supply.
  • I checked, and this is a type of item they have great demand for.
  • The fact that they are getting one unique item is not a problem, because one of their core competencies is accepting material donations and distributing them. They have chosen to prioritize variety over economies of scale.
  • I get a warm fuzzy feeling from being able to give something really cool and brand new to a kid who gets too litle of both.

So all in all: if I had $600 cash I wanted to donate, I should give them the cash, not buy and donate electronics. But given that I have a $600 toy I don't want and no way to turn it into cash, donating it to them is still a net good.

I suppose I should also note I donate to thrift stores all the time. I don't turn down the tax deduction for it, but I don't put that in the same category of giving as donating money or even this toy. That is a way to get rid of my stuff that gives someone else an opportunity to get some use out of it, and lessen the landfill load.
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May 2014

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