Re: Handling donations
From: Karen Carlson (
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:05:38 -0800 (PST)
Tim:  It helps to have a committee charged with such.  Here at Arboretum 
Cohousing Community (Arbco) we have an Indoors committee that would consider 
the donated item. (Also Outdoors committee for patio furniture, etc.) If not 
needed, the committee thanks the donor and explains the decision. If accepted 
but the donor doesn't like what was done with it, I suppose s/he could just 
un-gift it.  When changing furniture around and rethinking furniture, we let 
the original donor know that a piece is no longer needed, give them a deadline 
to repossess it and then, if not wanted, put it on the curb (in a university 
town, the ultimate location for off loading or acquiring used items).  At 
times, members just put their object where they think it is best used.  (I'm 
guilty of doing this w/ a dining table.)  If no one objects it stays where put. 
 Not everything goes through a process....

Karen Carlson
Madison, WI

On Jan 19, 2015, at 4:54 PM, Tim Hunter wrote:

> Hi folks!
> Our community is struggling with how to handle donations of furniture and 
> equipment. How do others handle this issue in your community? Can you 
> recommend a best practice?
> We’re lucky to have some very generous members at Durham Coho. These folks 
> are able - nay, eager - to donate furniture and equipment for use in our 
> common rooms, and also money to buy such things. When we were moving in we 
> relied on donations to furnish our common rooms. 
> However, now we’re in and we’re looking at donations that replace or augment 
> our current furniture and equipment. As much as we’d like to just say “Yes! 
> We love donations!” we’re also aware that the issue might be a bit more 
> complicated that it first appears. 
> What if somebody wanted to donate a hot tub? A hot tub requires ongoing 
> utility costs and maintenance costs and may only appeal to a subset of the 
> community. Should we accept a donation that commits the community to these 
> costs? 
> Do donors have control over their donations? (“You have to put my couch in 
> the media room and move the one that’s there somewhere else!”) 
> Do members that can’t afford to make donations feel less valuable to the 
> community? 
> When should we turn down a donation? 
> Is a monetary donation different from a material donation?
> There are many more of these kinds of questions, but I won’t bother to list 
> them all as I’m sure you can think of them yourself.
> How should we decide when to accept a donation and when to turn it down? 
> Thanks for your advice!
> —
> Tim Hunter
> Durham Central Park Cohousing Community
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