I have an old, working computer and want to donate it. Where do I go?

You might choose to simply go to a local community organisation and ask if they would like a computer. It could take time before you find someone to take an old computer, especially if it is outdated.

You could give it one of the regional schemes that will take computers, refurbish them if necessary, and give them to schools and community organisations. There are ‘The Ark’ and ‘RCN’ in Auckland and ‘Remarkit Solutions’ in Wellington. The eDay website lists these and other organisations which will collect and dispose of working computers, though most of them will only take large numbers of computers from corporate or Government organisations..

Another option is to use the Donate website to find a recipient for anything which you would like to donate. Once you have registered (this is free), you can list your goods (or time or discounts) on the website and wait for a community group to contact you about receiving it.

You can also get more general information on computer recycling and donation on our Recycling page. 

I want to donate clothes, furniture etc where should I go?

First, ensure the items are in a reasonable state – that they are clean, (and if relevant) they are safe and still in working condition.

There are a number of places you can donate second hand goods, such as charity bins, low-cost second hand stores run by charitable organisations, or you can donate goods to some organisations directly so they can use them in their charitable work or pass them on to their clients.

Some charities provide clothing bins – often located near supermarkets – where members of the public can deposit clothing. Again, the clothing should be clean and in a reasonable condition.

There are a number of charities which operate low cost second hand stores, and these stores accept donations of clothes, furniture, and other household items. Some provide a free pick-up service for donated items, especially for larger items or donations. The Salvation ArmyRed Cross, Presbyterian Support, and St Vincent de Paul Society are just some of the charitable organisations which operate second hand stores (or 'op shops') across New Zealand.      

The Women’s Refuge sometimes accepts donations of clothes and toys. Contact your nearest branch to find out where you can drop off donated goods.

If you have unwanted curtains which are still in reasonable condition, consider donating them to a local Curtain bank. The curtains will be repaired and thermally lined if necessary and installed into the homes of low income households as extra insulation.

If you would like more suggestions of where you can donate items, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Someone came to the door asking for donations to a charity. How do I know whether they are genuine?

When large charitable organisations collect donations door to door or in the street, they often publicise it in the media and collections are often done only within a specific week or day. Genuine collectors should be wearing a badge or other item which identifies them as legitimate collectors for the organisation.

If you aren’t sure whether the person at your door is genuinely collecting for a charitable organisation, you could offer to donate via their website instead. You can also call the organisation on whose behalf they claim to be collecting, and ask them whether they are collecting door to door and what identifying item collectors are wearing.

If you’ve never heard of the charity they are collecting for, it’s easy to search the Charities Register to check whether it’s a genuine charity (not all genuine charities are registered, but a registered charity will have been checked by Charities Services).

How much of my donation actually gets to the people who need it?

One way that some charities fundraise is by arranging for a commercial fundraising company to collect donations – by phone or in the street, for example. They normally pay for this service from the donation money.

It may not be possible to find out what proportion of your donation goes straight into the pockets of the fundraising company, as some charities treat this as confidential information.

What you can do is:

  • Ask the collector what proportion of your donation goes to support the cause, as opposed to being used to pay administration and fundraising costs. 
  • You might also ask what they plan to do with your money. This information should be on their website.
  • Ask to see the organisation’s annual report. This can tell you what they spend their money on
  • Donate directly to the organisation you wish to support, e.g. through payroll giving.
  • Complain to Charities Services at the Department of Internal Affairs if you think someone is collecting for a non-existing charity or pretending to collect for a registered charity . More information on making a complaint about a charity is on their Complaints web page.

Can I get a tax refund on money I’ve donated?

If you donate money to an approved charity (the Inland Revenue refers to these as ‘donee organisations’) you can claim a proportion of that amount as a tax credit. You can check whether your charity is a donee organisation by searching this list on the IRD website.

To get this tax credit you would need to complete a Tax credit claim form IR526 for the appropriate tax year, and send this to the IRD along with the receipts relating to your donations.  More about this is on the IRD website.

Another way to make a donation, which will allow you to receive your tax credits more quickly, is to donate through payroll giving. If your employer offers this facility, you can arrange to have a set amount deducted from your pay and donated to your chosen donee organisation. A tax credit of 33.33 cents for each dollar donated will be applied to your PAYE.

More information about payroll giving is on the IRD website.