Do any real charities collect clothes?

Those with a long memory may recall my do not delay post from November 2006. In it I exposed a fake charity that collected clothes at people’s homes and then sold them for profit, without a penny going to a legitimate charity. Because they’ve pissed me off so much, I’ve set up a new site to expose the rest of the fake charity crooks.

Dochas Nasamu So, are there any real charities collecting clothes? Yes, there are two. Dochas Nasamu in Galway run an orphanage in Kenya. A quick search reveals lots of positive reports about them. Their last collection in this part of the world was on December 18th 2007. They don’t call to houses to collect clothes. Instead, they wait in a public area and identify themselves to would-be charity givers.
05 C 11628That’s how it worked the first time we gave them clothes, but this time all we saw was an anonymous Mercedes van, it’s back doors open and not a soul in sight. We dumped the clothes in the St. Vincent de Paul bin instead. Sorry guys! I kept meaning to ring them but I never got around to it at the time.

The Irish Cancer Society (who have an annual charity collection on Daffodil Day, but also an odd linking policy for their website) dropped in a plastic bag to the house a few weeks back. Unfortunately they never called back because we did leave out clothes!

It’s bugged me for a long time that the fake charities get away with selling second hand clothing for profit while masquerading as charities. Only last week my next door neighbour left a bag out for one of them, even though I told them they were crooks!

Finally tonight I set aside a few hours to launch a new site at ClothingCollection.org highlighting the fake charity crooks. Each post contains a snapshot of a leaflet handed in to my home along with identifying details from the leaflet/flyer/sticker. I’ll update the site as I get new flyers, and I need to fill out the posts a bit more. Those images have been sitting in my photo folder for the past 3 months so it was about time I uploaded them somewhere!

So, if you hate seeing crooks make money, and especially if you recognise one or more of the flyers, please link to ClothingCollection.org in a blog post or your sidebar. Thanks!

Do not delay – how to spot a fake charity flyer

Update! (2009-10-28) 3 years later and the Do Not Delay website has been updated. Thanks to this comment for pointing it out. Their About the Project page gives a detailed account of what they do in Lithuania:

Six years ago, the Lithuanian rate of deaths caused by breast cancer was the highest in Europe.

DO NOT DELAY, a breast cancer awareness program, was initiated by Agnė Zuokienė in 2003. Today, the number of deaths is significantly lower.

The Do Not Delay team includes professional doctors – specialists of their field who face breast cancer cases on a daily basis.

The Pink Bus travels to the most remote locations in Lithuania to deliver the message to all women – “Take care of your health, pay more attention to yourselves for your own sake and for the sake of those who love you!”

It would appear from this that “Do Not Delay” are in fact a charity in Lithuania. They’re not registered as one in Ireland or the UK however. This report by the Fermanagh Herald covers some of the same concerns I have and I will repeat my advice below. You’re better off handing your clothes in to a local second hand shop. At least then you’ll be certain the proceeds from the sale of those items will go to registered charities in your locality.

The original post continues below:

Do not delay! It’s not unusual for junk mail to be delivered to my door. Thankfully there’s a lot less of it than the electronic equivalent. Over the summer a number of flyers made their way to my doorstep, supposedly from charities looking for old clothes to sell to raise funds. Unfortunately only one of those was from an actual charity and they collected the clothes at a local carpark.

The latest one is from donotdelay.org. I was going to let it pass but my neighbour had a bag out for collection this morning which prompted me to grab the laptop and show them this page on letterbox spam. That page points out that donotdelay.org redirects to nedelsk.lt, which asks for donations to be sent to this bank account in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Azzara VšĮ
Enterprise code 124013046
Account no. LT267044060001204079
SEB Vilniaus Bankas
Bank code 70440

There’s a phone number too, 0044-28-3084-9971, which is a UK number and not exactly encouraging for an Irish person.

How do you spot the fake charity flyers?

  • It will have a contact number but it’s more than likely a mobile number. In Ireland, that’s an 085, 086, 087 number. A landline number means that they at least have a base or premises in the country.
  • The flyer should have a registered charity number. A registered business number is not the same.
  • Ring your local authority and ask if the “charity” is licensed to make door-to-door collections.
  • Use the Google search engine to find out about them. Use any registration numbers you find, an identifying website address, even search for text from the flyer. Any charity with the resources to organise a door-to-door clothes collection will have at least some presence on the Internet.

If you do have old clothes to give away, pop them into a bag and bring them into one of the charity shops in your local town or city. They’re always looking for quality saleable items. Here’s a list of Irish charities if you want to donate money. Some well known and reputable charities include Trocaire (they even have an rss feed!), Bothair and Simon Community.

If you live in the UK, this page has some useful information including how to report a fake charity.

“Do Not Delay” collect money for breast cancer research but you would be better off making a donation to The Irish Cancer Society who will put your donation to good use.

I’ll update this post from time to time with thumbnails and summaries of flyers that hit my door. Check back often!

Just as I was wondering when donotdelay would collect their clothes I spotted an old blue van parked outside. It’s a Dublin reg vehicle and quite old, given that it’s a van and presumably used for business. The reg is “97 D 45516”. I spotted a man in denims walking down the road. He ducked into a house at a corner for a moment then walked up a hill out of sight. I waited a few minutes and he returned with a woman. Both got into the van, drove down to the end of the cul-de-sac and about 5 minutes later drove past again. On closer examination of the photos below I recognised the top of the heart shaped flyer they had in their hands. One was delivered here a few weeks back. I might have it arond here somewhere.

More flyers being handed out

Update: Another blogger received the same flyer. Hopefully someone will search online for “Clothing Collection For Breast Cancer Prevention Programm”.

2006-11-21 – a new leaflet was dropped in the door a few minutes ago. It has an Irish mobile number, 0876815133, and reg. no. 382101. No sign of a charity number.

Not every family in developing countries can afford to buy new, often expensive clothes, footwear and household things.

If you search for their reg no. the first link is a pdf file (view as HTML) from Dublin City Council. Councillor Naoise O’Muiri asked, in a question to the City Manager, if he can

confirm that the following agencies currently engaged in collections in the City Area have all applied for and received Permits: …
“Unwanted Clothing Collection”, no Reg No given, 087 0552513

He replied:

The Collectors referred to by the Councillor do not have a waste collection permit from Dublin City Council.

Chances are they’re collecting ilegally in Cork too.

2006-11-29 – “Thank you for help” – another flyer appeared this morning before 8am, they’re out early! Identifying text includes the above badly constructed sentence and: “we urgently need clothing that you and your family may never wear again” and “Company Reg. Nr. 5655565A”, “Phone: +353851670878” – another mobile number. No landline, address or charity number.

2006-12-05 – “We support Orphanages.” just fell in the door. Here are their details: Reg. no. 9027839, phone 085-1337528. That’s a mobile phone number.

Update! I have set up a new site, Clothingcollection.org where I post details about all the fake charity leaflets I get. I’m sure you’ll recognise a few of them!