Want to impress your chief financial officer this year? Try delivering a hefty tax deduction.

While your corporation may have long outgrown the Pentium I, numerous nonprofit agencies would love to have them. We’ve found four IRS-recognized nonprofits dedicated to refurbishing used equipment for use in schools, programs for the disabled, and other nonprofit agencies.

Your business will also benefit by donating its retired hardware. For one thing, you’ll be able to deduct the donation from your taxes. (An explanation of how this works, written by Arthur Andersen, is available online.) In addition, you won’t have to deal with recycling it or face environmental penalties for dumping it. (Computers, for example, contain materials—such as lead—that are considered hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency.)

Here are four nonprofit organizations that accept hardware donations, along with a brief description of their programs.

Gifts In Kind International
Gifts In Kind International, headquartered in Virginia, works with more than 50,000 nonprofit organizations across the world. While the organization’s primary mission is to accept new products, it also operates a Recycle Technology program that accepts used hardware.

The organization does limit the type of equipment accepted. Gifts In Kind requests donations meet the following standards:

  • The equipment must be a Pentium I PC or higher, with a 500 megabyte hard drive and 32 MB of RAM. The operating software must transfer with the PC.
  • Donations must be complete systems, including a monitor, keyboard, CPU, mouse, and connective cabling.
  • The equipment’s parts, service, and maintenance should still be available in the marketplace.

For further information, e-mail the Gifts In Kind Recycle Technology manager.
We’d like to hear how your company deals with used equipment. Do you trash it? Recycle it? Donate it? Simply store it? Let us know what you do with used equipment by posting below or e-mailing us. If you have a formal policy, we’d love to see that as well.
Computers for Schools
The Computers for Schools Association, founded in 1991, is a nonprofit organization devoted to refurbishing computers for placement in schools. The association has given more than 80,000 computers to schools in the U.S.

The agency operates programs in each state, so requirements may vary depending on location. In general, Computers for Schools accepts:

  • IBM-compatible Pentium I or faster computers.
  • Macintosh Power Macs and iMacs (varies by state).
  • Modems, CD-ROM drives, and other peripherals.
  • Working laser and ink/bubble jet printers.
  • Networking cards and file servers.
  • Working spare parts.

To donate, call 1-800-939-6000.

National Cristina Foundation
The National Cristina Foundation (NCF) provides computer technology to people with disabilities, at-risk students, and the economically disadvantaged.

The organization was founded by Bruce McMahan, Ph.D., and Yvette Marin , Ph.D. McMahan, whose daughter Cristina has cerebral palsy, saw firsthand what a difference a computer can make for those who have disabilities after he donated a computer to her special education class.

The NCF maintains a database of equipment needs that it uses to match your donation to a location. The agency requires:

  • 486 and higher CPUs.
  • Software license agreements to be included for any installed software.

Hardware needing repair is considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether the partner organization can handle the repairs. Instructions on how to donate are available online.

Local programs
Prefer to donate to someone local? The Parents, Educators, and Children’s Software Publisher’s (PEP) site contains an online index of local recycling programs operating across the U.S., as well as information about centers in Africa, Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica, Bahrain, and the United Kingdom. The centers listed on this site donate the recycled computers to students and schools.