Tag Archives: donate

Out with the old…iPhones? 4 ways to reuse, resell, recycle

Each year, Apple dazzles its devoted fans with faster, sleeker, more powerful iPhones with better cameras and a bevy of bells and whistles.

So, what’s to become of last year’s model?

Instead of sentencing it to a lonely existence in a desk drawer, there are plenty of ways to reuse, recycle or resell older phones. Here are a few:


Several charities accept old phones for donation, though it’s worth remembering that these groups probably won’t physically give your old phones to people in need. Rather, they work with phone recyclers and sell your donated phones to them.

A nonprofit group called Cell Phones for Soldiers will take your “gently used” phone and sell it to a recycling company. It will then use the proceeds to buy international calling cards for soldiers so they can talk to their loved ones back home.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence works in a similar manner. About 60 percent of the phones it collects are refurbished and resold. The money goes toward supporting the coalition. The remaining 40 percent of the phones are recycled, according to the group’s website. It pays for shipping if you are mailing three or more phones. The group also accepts other electronics such as laptops, video game systems and digital cameras.


You can always join the eBay hordes and sell your phone on the site for a few hundred bucks, if you are lucky. There will likely be a flood of the gadgets soon after people start getting their new phones, so it might make sense to wait a little.

There are also plenty of other options.  A company called Gazelle will make an offer for your old phone based on its condition, your phone carrier and other information. For example, a 64 gigabyte iPhone 6 on AT&T in good condition (no cracks, major scratches or scuffs, turns on and makes calls), would get you $305 this week. The same phone on Sprint, meanwhile, would rake in $220.

Glyde.com also offers to help you resell your old phone. A recent check showed the same iPhone, with charger included, getting you $376.10 — provided there is a buyer.


Apple will give you store credit for old devices that you can then use for new gadgets. You can do this in a retail store or online, where you’ll get an estimate before mailing in your phone. An online check for the phone above yielded an estimated $325 Apple Store gift card this week.

The video game retailer GameStop, meanwhile, offers cash or store credit for old iPhones (along with iPods and iPads).


Even without cellular service, you old phone will be able to get on Wi-Fi, so you can use it to stream music, post on Facebook or do pretty much anything else you want provided you are in Wi-Fi range. Keep it for yourself, or load it up with kid-friendly apps and games and hand it down to your children.

Microsoft’s Ballmer, Gates donate $100,000 each to marriage equality

Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates have each donated $100,000 to the campaign supporting the state’s new gay marriage law, which faces a referendum vote in November.

Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, said the checks were reported to the state Public Disclosure Commission on July 2.

“It’s going to make a tremendous difference,” Silk said. “It’s very important for us to have that broad support from business leaders and companies themselves.”

Microsoft is one of several prominent Pacific Northwest businesses that have expressed support for same-sex marriage. Others include Starbucks Corp. and Nike Inc.

Referendum 74 was certified for the ballot last month after gay marriage opponents turned in more than 240,000 signatures, far more than the minimum of 120,577 valid voter signatures required.

The referendum seeks to overturn the law passed earlier this year allowing same-sex marriage in the state. That law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in February. The law was supposed to take effect June 7 but was put on hold once the signatures were turned in.

Gay marriage supporters have been raising money for months to protect the law, as national groups, including the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage, have said they’ll aggressively fight to strike it down. The National Organization for Marriage was involved in ballot measures that overturned same-sex marriage in California and Maine.

Before the Microsoft-related donation, Washington United for Marriage had raised nearly $1.5 million for the campaign to fight back attempts to overturn the law. Preserve Marriage Washington has raised more than $130,000, according to the most recent numbers with the Public Disclosure Commission, though the money race is expected to heat up significantly in the coming months.

Gay marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Maryland legalized gay marriage this year as well, but that state is also poised to have a public vote this fall. In Maine, voters will decide on an initiative to approve same-sex marriage three years after a referendum overturned a law passed by the Maine Legislature. And in Minnesota, voters will decide whether or not to pass a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage there.


Referendum 74 language: http://bit.ly/Aog5aO

Preserve Marriage Washington: http://preservemarriagewashington.com

Washington United for Marriage: http://washingtonunitedformarriage.org

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Become a philanthropist!

You don’t have to be a fat cat like Bill Gates to join one of the most admired fraternities around: philanthropists.

Since I work as a fundraiser and am painfully aware of how budget cuts are devastating human services, here’s a personal pitch along with some tips for being a smart, effective donor.

For those of us with jobs, the quickest way to give is to respond to the fall workplace giving campaigns of United Way and Community Shares that are sponsored by many employers. Government employees have additional options.

Workplace campaigns allow you to make a onetime donation or a continuing pledge that will be deducted from your paycheck and sent directly to the charitable campaign. A “donors choice” option allows you to specify which group will be the recipient of your donation, although a minimum dollar amount or other criteria may be required.

Some employers are willing to match your gift, so make sure you ask for any extra form that’s necessary to process that match. It’s a great way to double the impact of your donation.

Milwaukee’s Cream City Foundation and Madison’s New Harvest Foundation, which fund a variety of LGBT services, are members of Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee and Community Shares of Wisconsin, respectively.

In the absence of a workplace campaign, you can always contribute directly to a foundation or nonprofit whose work you like. Some donors prefer this route because it cuts out the “middleman,” reducing processing costs and maximizing the benefit to the targeted charity.

Guidestar.org is an excellent online resource you can use to check on the fiscal integrity and funding priorities of organizations you want to support. Guidestar allows you to search for non-profits and access their annual IRS forms.

On the IRS 990 form (section IX), charities must list their management, fundraising and program expenses. Management and fundraising should not rise above 20 percent. In fact, efficiently run groups often keep that percentage as low as 8-12 percent, which means the percentage they spend on actual programs to help their clients or community may be as high as 88-92 percent.

Foundations are required to attach a list of the charities they have given grants to in that reporting year. This is a handy way to learn whether the foundation’s giving is simpatico with your own interests and, if you represent a nonprofit, whether your group matches their priorities and should apply for a grant.

No matter how much you donate, you have the right to communicate with that charity to ask them about their programs or for an annual report. If they have their act together, they are likely to cultivate you in return and try to engage you in the organization in other ways, which leads to a final point.

You don’t need money to be a philanthropist. Really. Volunteers are as valuable to nonprofit agencies as money. There are dozens of tasks to be accomplished, from mailings to event staffing to IT support. Volunteer labor frees paid staff to focus more on core services. If you have extra time, let the group know your interests and have them assign you to a volunteer gig where you’ll be engaged and make a difference.

I don’t think philanthropy can or should ever substitute for our government’s duty to respond to basic human needs. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with a charitable impulse, and these days we all need to pitch in any way we can.