How can I get the value of my computer donation?

Question

I (recently) purchased a new computer. Can you put me in touch with a school or association, in order that I may donate my old computer? Also could you point me in the right direction where I can find the value of (my) 2 years old IBM Aptiva.

-Frank

Answer

This question was answered on December 6, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

According to a report from the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, 24 million computers will be abandoned before the end of this year and most will end up in a closet or a garage and eventually thrown in the trash A fraction of this year's discarded computers, 14 percent, will be recycled and environmentalists are concerned that the byproduct toxins, lead and mercury, will contaminate the water and soil Over a decade the amount of lead accumulated could be as much as 1 billion pounds With the price of disposing one pound of lead estimated to be 50 cents, the cost of proper computer disposal could run into hundreds of millions of dollars

A good way to help with this potential problem is to donate your computer before it becomes useless What may seem out-of-date or obsolete to you may be just what an individual or organization that has nothing needs E-mail and word processing, two functions that are critical to most organizations, do not require much in the way of processing power Most people will keep an old computer for a year or so before they try to donate it, which decreases its chances of being usable, so take Frank’s lead and donate those old computers!

Where to donate your old computer

My recommendation is to start with your own community Check with your local schools, churches or non-profit thrift stores to see if they have a use for your old technology If not here are a few of the organizations that I have worked with:

PENTIUM CLASS OR HIGHER

Habitat for Humanity – Housing for low-income families - (602) 268-9022

The Heather Farr Foundation – Funding for Breast Cancer treatment – (602) 266-4122

486 CLASS OR HIGHER

The Easter Seals Computer Placement Program – rehabilitating computers for children and adults with disabilities - 602-252-6061

The Easter Seals program is the most established system in the Phoenix metro area for making use of older computers It has volunteers from the Phoenix PC Users group that will refurbish the donated computers If you would like to volunteer your time in this effort you can contact the Phoenix PC Users group at (602) 222-8511.

The Christina Foundation is a national clearinghouse for computer donations that works closely with dozens of Arizona based organizations that are in need of computer donations You can get all of the info at www.christina.org

Most organizations will provide you with a receipt that will allow you to assign the value of the donation Figuring the value of your donation can be a little tricky unless you have some sort of reference point A computer that was purchased for $3000 a few years ago, most likely will only have a value of a couple of hundred dollars today You can get a general idea of what your system might be worth from the folks that create the Orion Computer Blue Book They have a new free service that will allow you to input your information and get an idea of the value at www.bluebook.com

If you are part of a non-profit organization and have a defined mechanism for dealing with computer donations, let me know and I will publish the information in future columns.

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Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on December 6, 1999