If you find yourself with a stack of old greeting cards, why not give them away to charity? It can be a better alternative than throwing them out or stuffing them in the back of a closet for another year. By donating your used or unused Christmas cards, you'll also be doing your part to spread holiday cheer long after the celebrations have ended.
Places That May Accept Holiday Card Donations
Many of the organizations that accept Christmas card donations are local. You can check with your city's chamber of commerce if they know of any charities that could use the cards. Examples of places to check that may accept this kind of donation include the following.
St Jude's Ranch for Children
St. Jude's Ranch for Children accepts used and unused holiday cards with or without an envelope, although there are a few exceptions. They cannot use any cards from Disney, Hallmark, or American Greetings due to copyright laws. Additionally, they cannot use cards that promote other charitable organizations. Visit their Recycled Card Program page or call (702) 294-7100 for more info.
Community Cards Project
The Community Card Project is a UK-based group accepting donations of used holiday cards, which volunteers use to craft new cards. The new cards are sold to raise money to help support The Welcome Centre in Huddersfield, which assists people who are experiencing crises in their lives. Local residents can drop their cards at their main building. Because they have specific requirements, they don't accept mailed cards. Find out more on their website.
Schools may collect used or unused greeting cards to use for craft projects and other purposes. For example, the front panels of used Christmas cards can be used for making bookmarks for the children. Check with schools in your local community to see if they have a similar donation opportunity.
Art Schools or Programs
Some companies teaching arts and crafts lessons or that make upcycled crafts to sell may also accept this type of donation. For example, Casey Eckert, owner of Earth Inspired Crafts and Education accepts card donations to use for her handmade cards, and in workshops she teaches about upcycling and making the cards. While her company is not a nonprofit, Eckert helps other charity groups. She says, "Most of the proceeds from the items I sell cover the materials for the workshops I teach and the volunteer programs."
If you have old Hallmark holiday cards, you can donate them to the company to be used in the Hallmark Visitors Center or for use in a future Hallmark channel movie. This isn't a nonprofit program, but Hallmark has several other charity efforts they run. If you have a soft spot for Hallmark, this might be a good place to donate.
Children's Activity Groups
Charitable organizations that work with children, such as after-school programs or daycare centers, often accept donated craft supplies. Since there are several great, kid-friendly arts and crafts projects little ones can do around the holidays, you may find groups like this in your area that will be happy to accept old Christmas cards you wish to donate. Look for community-based local groups in your area such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America organization to ask if they can use your cards.
Older Adult Care Facilities
Older adult care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living communities, and adult day care centers often accept donations of these types of cards to use in their recreational therapy programs. A staff member in these senior care facilities should be able to assist you in connecting to the ones in charge of recreational therapy. Ask if they accept donated materials to use in craft projects with their clients. If so, find out if they accept Christmas cards or other used or unused greeting cards.
Americans send out 1.3 billion greeting cards each year, so donating or upcycling them can make an impact.
Used greeting cards can sometimes be donated to local prisons, rehabilitation centers, or other state-run facilities. These entities often have craft times where residents or inmates can refurbish the Christmas cards, either for profit or to pass the time. Many people do not think to donate to prisoners and those overcoming life struggles; so your donation could brighten someone's day. You can contact your local prisons to find out if they accept donations of used and unused holiday cards.
Nonprofit Thrift Stores
Thrift stores like Salvation Army, Goodwill, and other nonprofit thrift stores accept all sorts of home goods and may accept unused Christmas cards, especially if they are still boxed. The profits from resale go to different charity programs of their parent organizations. Check with the specific store before donating.
Churches or Faith-Based Groups
Local churches or faith-based organizations may also accept used or unused holiday cards for their outreach programs. First United Methodist Church of Santa Rosa in California, for example, uses donated holiday cards in their prison outreach program.
Before donating your used Christmas cards, keep the following in mind:
Review Submission Guidelines
You will want to review the submission guidelines to ensure the cards are appropriate for the cause. When in doubt, consider donating traditional-looking Christmas cards that any recipient will enjoy.
Confirm Donation Windows
Only make donations if they are currently being accepted. Some places might only accept card donations from local residents and discourage the mailing of cards. You will need to verify this information before donating via the group's website, social media presence, or placing a phone call. Otherwise, the charity may get overwhelmed and be forced to toss them out.
Donate Holiday Greeting Cards for a Good Cause
Many of the organizations that accept old greeting card donations are local places. While it might take a little work to find the right organization before mailing or dropping them off, getting rid of your Christmas cards by donating them is a unique way to give back. It could help a charity or other organization make an impact on the lives of others.