FAQs & Help

This section provides information about using the donateNYC Exchange and Directory to give and find goods, participating in the donateNYC Partnership program, and understanding donation and reuse.

If your question isn't answered here, please contact us.

donateNYC Definitions

Exchange: The donateNYC Exchange is an online platform where businesses and nonprofits can donate or request donations of second-hand or surplus materials.

Directory: The donateNYC Directory is an online and mobile search tool that helps New Yorkers find local second-hand shops or places to donate used goods. Qualifying businesses and nonprofits can be listed in the donateNYC Directory.

Partners: Nonprofit reuse organizations located in NYC that collect and redistribute second-hand and surplus goods can apply to become donateNYC Partners. Partners have access to a variety of benefits provided by donateNYC including publicity, workshops, data analysis, and conferences provided by donateNYC.

Vendor: a vendor is a store, organization, flea market, or other establishment with a fixed location that is listed on the donateNYC Directory as accepting or distributing donated goods.

User: a user is a nonprofit or a business registered for and able to post listings on the donateNYC Exchange.

donateNYC Directory

Guidelines for using the donateNYC Directory

Who can use the donateNYC Directory to donate gently used or surplus goods?

Residents and groups can search the donateNYC Directory to locate nearby organizations or second-hand shops that accept donations of gently used or surplus goods.

Who can use the donateNYC Directory to find second-hand or vintage goods?

Residents and groups can search the donateNYC Directory to find nearby second-hand stores that distribute used goods such as antique furniture, vintage clothing, and used books.

Where can I download the donateNYC mobile app?

The free donateNYC app is available for IOS and for Android devices. The app allows you to search the donateNYC Directory based on your location.

Who is eligible to be listed in the donateNYC Directory as a location accepting or selling second-hand goods?

Businesses and organizations must have a verifiable physical location (such as a storefront, reception center, or regular donation drive) within the five boroughs of NYC that is accessible to the general public with either regular hours of operation or by appointment.

Businesses wanting to be listed in the donateNYC Directory may be asked to provide proof of their NYC Second-Hand Dealer License. Nonprofit organizations may be asked to provide proof of their IRS 501(c)(3) status.

How do I list my business or organization on the donateNYC Directory, or update information in my listing?

To get your organization listed in the donateNYC Directory, or to remove, update, or correct your vendor listing, use this form.

I'm a vendor dealing with antiques and high-end items; can I get listed in the donateNYC Directory?

Yes. Dealers of high-end used goods like antiques, collectibles, and designer clothing and accessories are an integral part of the reuse community. Not only do they help keep materials out of waste stream—they also promote the preservation of history and culture.

Giving and Finding Goods

How do I use the donateNYC Directory to donate unwanted or surplus goods?

Under the "Give + Find" tab, click on "Give Goods." Then, check the boxes next to the types of items you would like to donate, enter your ZIP code, specify a search radius, and click "Search." The results will appear in a map, listing several locations that you can connect with to donate your items. Information on individual locations can be found by clicking through to vendor pages from the search result list.

How do I use the donateNYC Directory to find second-hand or vintage goods?

Under the "Give + Find" tab, click on "Find Goods." Then, check the boxes next to the types of items you would like to find, enter your ZIP code, specify a search radius, and click "Search." The results will appear in a map listing several locations that you can visit. Information on individual locations can be found by clicking through to vendor pages from the search result list.

Why can't I find a vendor for the item I would like to donate or find?

Search results will only appear if the search criteria you entered match the categories of vendors in the donateNYC database. If you can't find a vendor, try changing the criteria by expanding the search radius or reducing the number of items in your search. If no vendor accepts the item you wish to donate, please check out the "How To Get Rid Of" feature on the DSNY home page to look for other options.

Why won't some vendors accept or distribute particular items, even if they are listed as accepting or distributing other items in the same item category?

Vendors are listed within general categories of items that they accept or sell. This doesn't mean that they accept or distribute all items within the category. For example, a vendor may only accept or distribute certain styles of clothing (like business casual) or certain types of electronics (like CD players, but not computers).

There also may be product-specific policies, laws, or regulations affecting why vendors won't accept an item. Please see Laws & Policy for more information. If you wonder whether a vendor accepts your items or carries the items you are looking for, call ahead.

If a vendor is listed incorrectly as accepting or carrying an item that it does not, please contact us.

Will donateNYC vendors pick up my items for donation?

Maybe. Vendors have their own policies about picking up items. Drop-off and pickup details for each vendor will appear in their individual listings. Please contact the vendor directly to inquire about their policies and arrange a pickup.

How can I report an inaccuracy on the donateNYC Directory?

Organizations and businesses can change what they accept or distribute, move, or go out of business. If you have found inaccuracies in a donateNYC listing, please contact us.

donateNYC Exchange

Guidelines for using the Exchange

Who can use the donateNYC Exchange?

Only registered businesses and nonprofits located in the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, WestchesterCounty, and nearby areas of New Jersey can use the Exchange to donate or receive large quantities of items.

One participant in any transaction (either donor or recipient) must be based within the five boroughs of New York City. Exceptions to this policy will be made in the event of a declared state of emergency, in which case donors from outside New York City may be allowed to post available goods.

What kinds of goods can my business or nonprofit donate through the Exchange?

The Exchange is a platform for businesses and nonprofits seeking to exchange large quantities of useable second-hand or surplus items. Frequently posted items include furniture, electronics, and building materials. A wide variety of items are suitable for donating through the Exchange; for a list of prohibited items, please refer to the User Agreement.

If you only have a few items to donate, you can search the donateNYC Directory for organizations near you that can accept your donation. If you have toxic or hazardous items to get rid of, please visit the "How To Get Rid Of" feature on the DSNY home page for disposal options.

How does my business or nonprofit use the donateNYC Exchange to receive free supplies or equipment?

If your organization needs a large quantity of items (e.g. enough desks to furnish an office), you can post a "wanted" listing or search current Exchange listings for available items that may suit your needs. Many items are suitable for requesting through the Exchange; for a list of prohibited items, please refer to the User Agreement.

Please note that many donors listing items on the Exchange will only donate to nonprofit organizations and will require a tax receipt. Recipients are responsible for any and all requirements a donor may have, often including transportation.

If you are looking for just a few items for your organization (e.g. a single desk for a reception area), you can search the donateNYC Directory for organizations and businesses near you that may carry the items you need for a low cost.

Registering for the donateNYC Exchange

How do I register my business or nonprofit for the donateNYC Exchange?

Create an account by clicking here and selecting "Create Account" on the bottom left-hand corner of the page.

Please select the appropriate account type when registering. Directory Vendors will have their locations listed in the donateNYC Directory as locations where New Yorkers can donate and/or find gently-used goods, while Exchange Users will only use the Exchange without being publicly listed.

Why do I need to register to use the Exchange?

Exchange users must register for several reasons:

  • Quality assurance: Registration ensures that Exchange users are legitimate businesses and nonprofits.
  • Communication consistency: Personal information such as phone numbers and addresses are needed for tracking purposes. Your information will only be visible to donateNYC staff and the donor/recipient you choose to share it with. Please read the donateNYC privacy policy and User Agreement for more information.
  • User convenience: Your current exchange status and history of past exchanges will be available in your Exchange account area. This can be used for accounting purposes, if needed.

Where can I get help logging in to my account?

Click on "Forgot Password" on the bottom of the Exchange user login page. A link to reset your password will be sent to you.

Creating listings and completing transactions

How do I put up a listing?

You can post a listing by logging in to your account, going to the "Exchange Listings" section, and clicking the button that says "Add new item," which will ask you for a basic description of the goods you are looking to donate or receive.

Once your listing is up, it will take between 24 and 72 hours for administrators to approve it and make it public. Users interested in your goods will be able to message you through the donateNYC messaging platform; you should receive a notification email every time someone sends you a message through the platform.

What are some guidelines for posting a successful listing?

donateNYC cannot guarantee that donation listings on the Exchange will result in successful transactions. There are several factors that affect whether donation offers succeed:

  • The condition and quality of, and demand for, the materials--for example, newer electronics move more quickly than older desktop computers.
  • The quantity being offered—typically, large quantity donations move faster than single items because it's more cost effective for an organization to receive multiple materials in one pickup.
  • Donations with photos usually move more quickly than those without photos.
  • The timeframe of the exchange (most exchanges require at least 10 days for planning and logistics; last-minute donation offers often fail since the recipient organization may need to rent a truck or hire labor).
  • The requirement for a Certificate of Insurance (COI) or fee (for instance, to use a building's freight elevator).
  • The pickup location.

Can I charge a price or offer to pay for an item listed on the Exchange?

No. Items on the Exchange are not for sale and can have no price attached. Donors can specify that a recipient only be a nonprofit or charitable organization, and therefore request a tax receipt for their donated items.

Will I be provided with documentation or tax forms after I have successfully donated my goods?

donateNYC does not provide any tax-related forms or thank-you confirmations for Exchange transactions but documentation can be arranged between the donor and the recipient. If your business or organization will need a donation tax receipt, indicate that in the description of your donation listing. Although the value of your donated goods is not required in the description, you will need to declare a value for the donation tax receipt.

If your donation is valued at $5,000 or more, your organization may need to have the items appraised. NY State Tax laws state that donor (business or nonprofit) must complete an IRS form 8283 if the donor is claiming a tax deduction of $5,000 or more. The recipient of donated goods must complete an IRS Form 8282 if the value of the donation was $5,000 or more and the donated goods were sold or discarded within 3 years after the donation.

For specific tax information, consult with your accountant or tax professional.

Do I need to provide any documentation to receive a donation?

Some donors will only donate to certified nonprofit organizations and will ask for proof of 501(c)(3) status before arrangements for pickup can be made. Other donors will require a Certificate of Insurance (COI), a document certifying that an organization carries sufficient liability insurance to cover the cost of any property damage that might occur while moving goods. Your organization will need a COI only if you will be picking up the donation and if the donor's building requires it.

How do I complete a successful or unsuccessful transaction?

If your donation is accepted or your request for materials is filled, log in to your Exchange account and remove the listing by clicking the "Delete" button in the lower right-hand corner of the page. Under "I am removing my listing because..." select "I made a successful exchange" and fill out the additional information requested. You will be unable to exit this page unless you have filled out all requested fields.

If your donation was not accepted or your request for materials was not filled, delete the listing as described above but mark "My listing was unsuccessful” and fill out the exit survey asking why the listing was not successful.

If you remove a listing by mistake, email the site administrator at donate@dsny.nyc.gov.

All listings must be taken down once the items are no longer available.

What can I do if someone contacted me regarding a pickup but never showed up?

donateNYC does not have control over transactions in the Exchange, but site administrators do monitor exchanges and may ban users for misuse of the site, including repeated no-shows. To report a no-show, log in to your Exchange account and contact the site administrator at donate@dsny.nyc.gov.

donateNYC Partnership Program

Overview of the Partnership Program

What is the donateNYC Partnership?

The donateNYC Partnership is an association of New York City reuse organizations. The mission of the donateNYC partnership program is to support the work of nonprofit partners as well as to promote the social, environmental, and economic benefits that donating second-hand and surplus goods provides to local communities.

Who are donateNYC Partners?

donateNYC Partners are nonprofit organizations located in NYC that collect and distribute second-hand or surplus goods. From thrift stores to social service providers; arts programs, deconstruction companies and more, Partners can vary greatly in both their sizes and missions. donateNYC Partners are large national and international nonprofits as well as small "mom and pop" thrift stores—plus everything in between.

How are donateNYC Partners different from other donateNYC vendors?

Any organization or business that accepts or distributes used goods in New York City can be listed in the donateNYC Directory. DonateNYC Partners have additional individual profile pages because they’ve become part of the donateNYC Partnership network. These organizations have undergone an application and approval process and qualify for a variety of promotional benefits, workshops, reports, and networking opportunities provided by donateNYC.

Is my organization eligible to become a donateNYC Partner?

The donateNYC Partnership is open to nonprofit organizations or government entities that accept and distribute second-hand or surplus goods through their own operations in New York City. To be eligible for donateNYC Partner status and to maintain active Partner status, your organization must:

  • Be a documented nonprofit organization as defined by the IRS (www.irs.gov/charities-&-non-profits), or a government program, which distributes used or surplus materials collected from NYC residences, businesses, or government agencies.
  • Distribute donated goods to individuals or other nonprofits through the organization’s own operations by having dedicated staff or volunteers assigned to its donations program year round.
  • Submit operational data on donation and reuse activities for quantification of waste diversion and zero waste impact. If data cannot initially be provided, then direct collaboration with donateNYC staff to produce or improve the quality of organizational data will meet this requirement. Data provided by Partners is used in aggregate only (e.g. Partners diverted 40+ million lbs. of goods in 2015) unless permission is granted to share publicly (e.g. Second Chance Toys distributed 20,000+ toys in 2015).
  • Complete an organizational assessment survey, covering information such as the size of the organization, materials accepted, and services offered.
  • Send a lead representative to at least three donateNYC events annually.
  • Distribute at least 25% of donated goods within the tri-state region or operate a venue open to the general public where donated goods can be purchased or received free of charge (helping ensure that goods donated by NYC residents benefit the region as well as contribute to environmental impact reduction).

How can an organization become a donateNYC Partner?

If your organization is eligible and would like to join donateNYC as a Partner, please go to the contact page and select "donateNYC Partnership" under "What do you need help with?"

Benefits of the Partnership program

What are the benefits of becoming a donateNYC Partner?

Benefits of joining donateNYC as a Partner include:

  • Use of the "Proud Partner of donateNYC" logo on storefronts, organizational websites, and approved marketing materials.
  • Organization profile on the donateNYC website and in the donateNYC Annual Partnership Report.
  • Listings of events and job and volunteer opportunities on the donateNYC website.
  • Invitation to the Annual donateNYC Partnership Conference.
  • Professional development trainings and networking opportunities.
  • Assistance with data tracking and yearly environmental impact statistics for promoting reuse activities.
  • Donation referrals through the donateNYC Exchange.

What kinds of trainings does donateNYC provide to its partners?

donateNYC Partners have access to several professional development trainings and workshops per year covering a variety of topics, such as:

  • Taxes & In-Kind Donations
  • Online Retail for Second-Hand
  • Bed Bugs & Pest Control
  • Reuse & Retail Management
  • Data Management Best Practices.

What kinds of data will I be expected to share as a donateNYC Partner and how will it be used?

Through collaboration with the NYC Center for Materials Reuse, donateNYC gathers qualitative and quantitative information provided by donateNYC Partners to assess the impact of the donations and reuse sector in New York City. These analyses are used in the donateNYC Annual Partnership Report as well as in larger reports on the reuse sector. Data gathered includes material goods distributed and diverted from the landfills, clients and NYC residents served as well as green jobs created.

Where can I learn more about the impact of the donateNYC Partnership program?

donateNYC Partners have played a critical role in NYC’s 0X30 initiative that aims to send zero waste to landfills by 2030. Partner organizations help keep tens of millions of pounds of materials out of the waste stream and landfills every year, protect the environment by conserving energy and resources, and provide crucial programs and services to New Yorkers who need them. For a breakdown of the positive impacts of donateNYC Partners, click here.

Donating and Reuse

Benefits of donating unwanted items

New Yorkers throw out nearly six million tons of waste every year. Some of this “waste” includes perfectly usable items such as clothing, household items, books, and furniture. New York City ends up paying to landfill items that could otherwise go to those who want or need them.

By donating unwanted, gently-used goods to local nonprofit organizations, New Yorkers can easily get rid of stuff they no longer need, while supporting programs that provide critical social services, jobs, and job training throughout the New York City area.

In addition, donating your unwanted item as an in-kind donation may qualify you for a tax deduction, saving both you and the City money.

Understanding reuse

Reuse is the practice of using an item more than once. Whether buying an item from a thrift shop, donating goods to a charity, or repairing an old piece of equipment, reuse is a great way to save money and reduce unnecessary waste. As one of the oldest forms of solid waste management, reuse is an essential component of the Department of Sanitation’s 0X30 initiative aimed at sending zero waste to landfills by 2030.

Donating and reusing in New York City

New York City is home to one of the most vibrant reuse communities in the country. From neighborhood stoop sales to flea markets, consignment and thrift stores, antique dealers, and charitable donation programs, there are a variety of venues throughout all five boroughs where residents can give and find second-hand goods; the donateNYC Directory can help locate one near you.

To keep up to date on upcoming donation drives, flea markets, and reuse events, you can also visit donateNYC’s Events Calendar.