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How to choose a recycling scheme

Raising funds through recycling is a simple way to gain unrestricted income for your organisation. There are lots of different methods and hundreds of schemes to choose from which can be quite daunting.

How do you work out which is likely to give you the best return and the best customer experience? Should you try lots of different types of recycling or stick to just one?

Here are some tips to get you started.


Think about recycling methods and items

Think about what type of recycling scheme will work best for you.

You may think that schemes with central collection points will work best or ones where donors send their items directly to the company.

You may think that mobile phone recycling will appeal most to your supporters or that a car recycling scheme will be better as it could raise more money from fewer donations.

With so many options, it can be difficult to know which way to go. Why not run a short survey to find out what items and methods will best suit your supporters.

This free recycling survey can be used as a template to help you produce your own survey.

When making a decision, you should also factor-in how much time you have to set up, manage and promote lots of different schemes.


Find companies

Once you have worked out which type of recycling to concentrate on, make a list of companies who process the items.

Compare the items each company recycles and the average donation generated per item. Some sites have calculators on their websites to help estimate donations generated by specific items or models.


Compare companies - what is the donor experience?

Read comments or reviews from people who have donated – has their experience been good?

If you can’t find reviews, test out making a donation yourself. How easy is it to send an item, do they pay for postage or collect, how quickly do you get an email response? You don’t actually have to donate to test out this process.


Compare schemes - who else is using?

Find out who else has signed up. Many schemes list the charities who use them on their website so this information is easy to find. Contact some and find out whether they would recommend.

Talk to your peers – which schemes would they recommend? It could be useful to have an informal chat with another charity about their experience to help you decide which schemes to use.


Compare schemes - how will you be supported?

Find out how you will be supported, for example some schemes include a free personalised web page to help you manage your recycling asks. How quickly are donations processed? How do they let you know about donations?

Further information

This how-to guide is based on a blog post written by Tennyson Insurance, who are now part of Zurich Insurance


Page last edited Feb 28, 2018 History

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