You're a good person. You want to help people: it's just that you don't have any spare cash. No worry, you won't end up being a slug in your next life, just look around your place and see if you have 'stuff' that charities are crying out for.
You'd be surprised by how much good karma you'll get by helping people in need and giving your place a good tidy-up.
Here is a list of some of the more unusual things you can donate.
Footy Boots This is a uniquely Victorian charity: Boots for All. After all, your love for the great Aussie game and a desire to give a fair go means that no child should not have a pair of footy boots. So grab your old boots (and any other sports equipment) and head to one of the charity bins across the city, or email email@example.com to find out your nearest collection depot.
Bras All women have at least one bra they never wear. It's either too big or too small, or maybe you just don't like leopard print anymore. Maybe you have finished having babies but still have some good quality nursing bras sitting at the back of the drawer. Find these girls a new home and send them to Project Uplift who provide bras to women in need in third world countries and right on our own doorstep.
All bras but particularly nursing and maternity bras are needed for women for whom a bra is an unobtainable luxury. Bras can be dropped off at a number of locations across the city and state or posted to Vic Uplift, 9 Steven Street, Hurstbridge VIC 3099
Books All those books you bought to impress your rather brainy ex-girlfriend and are now gathering dust on the shelf? The ones that Oprah recommended? The ones with the silver tie on the cover?
Brotherhood Books (a project of the Brotherhood of St Laurence) sorts, cleans and recycles donated books and then sells them in their online bookshop and through a number of shops around the city. This great program keeps books out of landfill and all the money raised goes to the work of the Brotherhood helping disadvantaged people
Clothes There is nothing more frustrating than seeing piles of clothing, laying scatted and dirty outside the charity bins. Despite people's best intentions, much of what is donated is often left to ruin, costing charities thousands of dollars to remove.
There are a number of groups in Melbourne who need your clean, good quality clothing to either give directly to people in need, or to sell with the profits going to their charitable work. Take the time to find the best destination for your donation.
Bikes There are two types of unwanted bikes: the ones which have been cannibalised and no longer have tyres and seats and the ones that are still functional but you don't use anymore (because you'd much rather sit on the couch).
If your bike is still rideable then there are a number of charities in Victoria who are looking for bikes, either for their work in local migrant and refugee communities in Australia, or for disadvantaged people in third world countries. Bicycles for Humanity, which send refurbished bikes to Africa also take bike parts. On yer bike! Get donating.
Most people seem to change their mobile phones as often as their underwear these days. But what I bet you didn't know was that some of the materials used in making mobile phones are found only in remote parts of Africa where mining is threatening the habitat of the gorilla populations.
To help prevent their devastation, Melbourne Zoo and the Aussie Recycling Program will use your old mobile phone to raise money for primate conservation. That's gorillas. You can either drop them off at any of the Victoria zoos or download a free Reply-Paid form you can stick to an envelope.
As you get older, and as styles change, you find you end up with a drawer full of out-dated prescription glasses. Rather than just let them gather dust, why not send them to OneSight, a charity which redistributes glasses worldwide through their global clinics. Give the gift of vision.
Drop off your old glasses at any Laubman & Pank, OPSM, Sunglass Hut or Budget Eyewear.
Something bigger to donate?
Hey, you'll never know if you don't ask. Perhaps you have a car, motorbike, boat or piece of art that you wish to donate to charity. Donate A Car is an Australian-wide organisation that will sell your car (or boat or Picasso) at the local Pickles auction yard and then donate all the proceeds to the charity of your choice.
Not only will you not have to worry about selling the car privately, or getting an awful price as a trade-in, you will be a warm fuzzy feeling about helping others and giving your car a new lease of life.
Other Ways to Donate Give Now is an Australian portal that makes it easy to give whatever you have to the people who need it most. If you wish to donate something that I haven't mentioned, chances are Give Now knows where it will be needed. Charities are seeking everything from food to land and from corks to furniture.
Blood: the situation is dire and you can donate blood every twelve weeks at the Red Cross.
Old Computers: feel better about getting your new iThing by giving away your old computer to a number of charitable organisations who will recycle them and give them to disadvantaged people (and prevent them from going into landfill).
Another way to give it to donate some time to take part in research. Universities are always looking for volunteers to take part in studies and whilst the value of this is not as obvious, this is the gateway to extending our knowledge and may lead to discoveries that benefit us all.
Excellent article, thanks! Many people who are cash-poor still have lots of no-longer-needed items, but don't want to just dump them in a charity bin... we all like to think that our "stuff" will still be valued and used.
A fantastic article Shannon, a great way to remind people that their unused items are gold to people less fortunate than ourselves. Another great way to support charities is through WizeOwl. WizeOwl is a community beneficiary program and free smart phone app. The app gives the user instant discounts for their everyday shopping and donates to your chosen charity when use a free discount. WizeOwl is available in the app store and is a great way to support your charity and save money.