What's the best way to donate the proceedings of a sale to charity?
November 13, 2010 11:28 PM   Subscribe

I have 2 adult bikes I want to sell. And since it's that time of the year, I'm also looking for charities to donate to. So I'm thinking of combining the two things. Tell me if this is a good or a bad idea.

In a nutshell the idea is to list the bikes on Craigslist or eBay with a minimum price (say, $300 each, $500 for both) and announce that whatever I get for the bikes I will be making a donation of 100% of the proceedings from the purchase, in the buyer's name, to charity. I will provide a short list of institutions and the buyer can pick one of them. Once the exchange takes place I will make the donation and send the buyer the receipt as proof.

I'm thinking this may be a good way for me to find a good home for these bikes and maybe do some good in the process. But I want to do a sanity check on this first because I may be missing a caveat here.

What do you think Metafilter? Is this a good idea? If not, how can I improve it?
posted by falameufilho to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Response by poster: Ah, I forgot to say: I've considered donating the bikes directly to charity but (1) I don't know any institution that would take them and (2) I think more money can be raised (i.e. more good can be done) this way.
posted by falameufilho at 11:32 PM on November 13, 2010

Have you tried looking for a bike charity? In my town we have several places that fix up bikes and give them to the less fortunate. I am sure you could find somewhere local to you that does the same.
posted by Felex at 11:57 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Why not just sell the bikes and donate the proceeds to charity? That sounds like the simplest way to go about it. If I was buying a bike from Craigslist or eBay, I wouldn't really care if you were spending the money on crack, buying milk for the baby or making a donation. I would just want a fair price. Whatever charity you decide to give the money to will be happy to have it regardless if it is in your name, they buyer's name or anonymously. Making a deal out of the name on the donation seems like needless vanity.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:32 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

What ActingtheGoat said. Your donation is, and should be, separate from selling the bikes.
posted by wingless_angel at 2:37 AM on November 14, 2010

I think listing the charitable component might help your bikes stand out.

BrandX with xyz features, in excellent condition, proceeds go to charity.

I'm selling this bike to raise funds for the United Way/Cancer Society/Habitat for Humanity, etc. 100% of the proceeds will go to charity; buyer may choose from the charitable groups listed.

More details about bike, features, maintenance, etc.
posted by theora55 at 3:54 AM on November 14, 2010

Recycle A Bicycle (recycleabicycle.org) is a fantastic NYC based organization. Pehaps you would like to donate your bikes to them.
posted by Pineapplicious at 4:35 AM on November 14, 2010

Around here we have NBW which takes donated bikes, fixes them and re-sells them to fund after school programs for kids. Maybe NYC has something similar? I also caution you not to be too surprised if the bikes turn out to be worth much less than you are thinking they are worth.
posted by fixedgear at 4:36 AM on November 14, 2010

I'd be less inclined to buy a bike from someone that is claiming the proceeds "go to charity".

I volunteer at a community bike shop and we thrive on donated bikes.
posted by glip at 6:03 AM on November 14, 2010

Listing the bikes and saying that proceeds go to a charity of the buyer's choice seems a little weird. It makes it sound like you want to get rid of the bikes, you don't need the money, you don't have a specific charity you personally care about, but now you want to make ME give to charity in return for the bike. Why can't I just have a cheaper bike? Why can't I give the money to a different charity if I don't agree with your shortlist? It all sounds a little pushy.

If you list the bikes and say that proceeds are going to a charity of YOUR choice, it sounds much more like you are making a commercial transaction and then giving the proceeds to charity yourself, which for some reason seems far more reasonable. You're keeping your charitable activities a little more private and not asking me to actively participate in them.

I don't think any of this is particularly logical, but it's my initial reaction to the situation, and I suspect it would be for a lot of other people too.

To improve the idea further, pick a charity having something to do with bikes or transport or health or something like that.
posted by emilyw at 6:17 AM on November 14, 2010

I also think it sounds a bit backward. If you want to donate to a particular charity then go ahead. but tying it in with the bikes just seems odd.

just sell the bikes and give the money to your charity.
posted by mary8nne at 6:48 AM on November 14, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses!

You confirmed my suspicions - the two ideas are good in separate, but when put together they're a little iffy. I thought I could get move the bikes easier this way, get a higher price and do more good with the money, but I think the whole thing has a negative connotation.

I'll just try to sell the bikes and donate the proceeds without advertising it or just donate the bikes directly.
posted by falameufilho at 8:24 AM on November 14, 2010

« Older ow. ow alot.   |   Dog behavior, fruit flies, and basic sex ed. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.