After seeing this video last week of Iced-T destroying his his Mac Book Pro because the screen quite working, I thought I would give everyone some options to actually do something useful with their old or slightly broken computer equipment by donating it to help others.
If you have a computer that is less then five years old, chances are that it can be put to good use by someone else. Rather than donate equipment directly to a charity or school, however, it is usually best for all involved if you can send it to a refurbisher, especially if you need to wipe your hard drive or are uncertain about the computer’s condition. Refurbishers will ensure that equipment they send to nonprofits and schools works well and runs legal copies of software, and that any e-waste is disposed of properly. The best service I have found for donating your computer gear is TechSoup Stock. TechSoup Stock is an online product donation service that connects nonprofits with technology product donations from more than twenty-five leading corporate and nonprofit technology partners. TechSoup Stock is a nonprofit serving nonprofits. Their low fees have saved over 50,000 nonprofits approximately $400 million, a savings they can redirect into their programs. According to the EPA’s Plug in to eCycling program, only 15-20% of retired personal computers, TVs, cell phones and other electronic devices are being recycled in the United States. Every computer dumped into a landfill represents a missed opportunity to provide Information-Age tools to individuals and organizations in need of helping to bridge the digital gap. So before you go off and try to act like a bad ass because you can break a laptop with a hammer, I’d urge you to do some good, not just for the environment, but also for others in need.
In order to make computer donation and refurbishing less of a burden than gift for the non-profits, here are ten tips for donating your computer hardware:
- Determine if your old computer can actually be reused.
- Recycle hardware that is too old and/or broken.
- Contact the refurbisher or recycler before donating.
- Remember the accessories.
- If possible, keep the operating system intact.
- Provide the original software media and documentation if available.
- Use secure disk-cleaning software to clear your computer of personal information.
- Make sure and follow computer donation center’s delivery instructions.
- Keep a list of what you donated for your records.
- Plan for future donations.