Equipment Donations FAQ
TecsChange, based in East Boston, Massachusetts, provides recycled computers, services of skilled volunteers, and computer training to nonprofit groups in the Boston area and around the world.
Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs in computer lingo) for people interested in donating computer equipment to TecsChange. We hope that they answer most of the questions that you may have. If you have other questions or need further information, please don't hesitate to email our Donations Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org , or contact us at TecsChange.
TecsChange - Technology for Social Change
46 Bennington St. (Right Side Basement)
East Boston, MA 02128
What equipment can you accept? (Updated 10/18)
As of Oct. 2018, we are hoping for batches of at least i5 desktop computers. Specifically, we are looking for: [Items highlighted in red are the things we need the most]. If you do not know the details about you computer email us the make and model number and we can look it up.
Our biggest need is for laptop SATA Hard drives of any size. Many companies are simply destroying their hard drives rather than wiping them clean.
See note below about you're private information.
We also have a request from one of the organizations we work with for Video, digital or Web Cameras, cell phones Walkie-Talkies and sound equipment.
How can I get my equipment to you?
Because we are an all volunteer organization we don't always have regular hours. We have a group of volunteers distributed around the area who can act as drop off points or depending on the volunteer come an pick-up from you. One of our volunteers is situated in East Cambridge most weekdays from about 10 to 6 PM. Contact us to see if a volunteer is in your area or check with us about dropping stuff of at our office. Please don't drop of things without checking with us. We have limited storage capacity so inappropriate donations our difficult for us to handle.
Will you accept older equipment?
Our primary goal is to make sure that the computers donated to nonprofit organizations are useful for at least a few years. We therefore can't accept any computer equipment that is older than the specs listed above. Click here for a list of places to donate older equipment.
Do you do pickups?
We have a small number of volunteers who can pick up equipment in the Boston area and some of the suburbs. Since we are a volunteer-run organization, and since most of our volunteers spend their time actually fixing computers, we are not always able to pick up equipment. In general, we can't pick up individual computers. We greatly appreciate deliveries of donations. However, before dropping off or mailing us any equipment, please call or email us to make sure that we can use it.
How will the donated equipment be used?
Most equipment is refurbished and donated to small organizations internationally and some here in Boston. We aim to refurbish and reuse most of the equipment that is donated to us. The small amount the we cannot reprocess is recycled through the cooperation with Earthworm Recycling. In other words we promote computer reuse over computer recycling.
Are equipment donations to TecsChange tax-deductible?
YES! We are a non-profit organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization. Therefore, all donations to TecsChange are fully tax-deductible. The only IRS requirement is that you not receive any good or services in exchange for your donation. We will supply an itemized receipt, making the donations tax-deductible.
Will you determine the value of my tax deduction?
According to IRS regulations, we can not determine the value of your donations. That is between you and your accountant. According to the IRS, the amount of deduction is based on the price that a "willing buyer" will pay for your equipment. We recommend that you use "for sale" ads (either in the want-ads or from on-line sources) to determine the value of your donation at the time that the donation was made. Our receipt will specify when your donation was made and what was donated. Please note that the market value of computer equipment falls quite rapidly, so it is best to donate early and document the value at the time of donation.
Please click here for help valuing your equipment donation.
Do you ever sell any of the donated computers or charge for your donations?
We never sell any of the computers that the students work on (or any other equipment that meets our donation criteria). Occasionally we sell equipment that we can't use in our program (for example UNIX workstations or high-end monitors that need extensive repair). Proceeds from these sales are used to purchase spare parts for the computer repair courses.
We have never charged money for any of our donations. Our primary goal is to benefit those who can't afford to purchase computers (even at discounted prices).
Will you take Macintosh computers?
TecsChange focuses on IBM compatible equipment only. See our list of other places to donate equipment above.
I have equipment that is not located in the Boston area. What do you recommend that I do with it?
We will gladly accept equipment that meets the above criteria if you are willing to ship it to us. However, before shipping anything, please get in touch with us to confirm that the donation will be useful. Also, for donations of exceptional value (currently including CD ROM drives, laser printers and Pentium computers in working condition) we may be able to pay for shipping. If you're not sure, send us an email.
There are also a several nationwide web sites to facilitate donating computers. Click here for a list of places to donate older equipment.
I have computer equipment that I want to donate to TecsChange. How should I proceed?
If you have access to email, please click here to send us an email message with a brief description of what you have. Also, please specify approximate quantities, where the equipment is located, and how to contact you. A phone number is especially helpful. If you don't have access to email, you can click here to give us the information online using our donations offer form. It's convenient, and you can do it right now! You can also call 617-963-0262 and leave a message in the voice mailbox for 'donating computers to TecsChange'. (Please give the same information that is requested on the form; it's what we need to know to help process your offer of equipment efficiently.)
What if I have confidential information on my hard disk?
The first thing we always do (after testing/upgrading the hardware) is to Reformat the hard disks. Then we reinstall software from scratch. (And we only use licenses that have been explicitly donated to us.) We are very strict about this. We do this to protect you against disclosure of proprietary information, and to protect us against viruses that may be on the hard disks. Also, many of our best donations come from companies that have donated to us in the past. We want to make sure that we don't jeopardize these relationships!
We believe that this procedure protects against all but the most sophisticated data recovery tools. But if you are still uncomfortable about the risk of distribution of your proprietary information, there is software that is designed to explicitly wipe all information from the hard disk. For example, you can use Norton Utilities or a program called Wipedisk to completely wipe all data from your hard disk before donating the computer. Another option is Darik's Boot And Nuke which you can download and burn to a CD and use.
How else can I support the work of TecsChange?
If you don't have any equipment for us, but would like to support our work, please consider making a cash donation. We are an all-volunteer organization supported through small individual contributions. Your donation will go towards purchasing missing parts for reconditioned computers and will help cover shipping expenses.
Checks can be made out to TecsChange and sent to:(note this is the mailing address for checks and official correspondence, see below for our workshop location).
121 Tremont St. #311
Brighton, MA 02135
Please note that all donations to TecsChange (both cash and equipment) are fully tax deductible.
Return to TecsChange home page
46 Bennington St., East Boston, MA 02128 617-963-0262
e-mail: email@example.com web: http://www.tecschange.org