How To Successfully Donate Unsold Clothes

Donating unsold clothes to charity can be a great solution for brands wishing to improve CSR efforts. However, it must be done right. These are the key points to consider for responsibly and successfully donating overstock. 

Unsold inventory is a massive problem in the fashion industry. Only 60% of all clothes are sold at full price. However, brands are still left with huge amounts of unsold products that they need to clear. A common option that brands use is donating their surplus stock. A common way for brands to manage their unsold products is through donations. In this post, we’ll break down the process of donating as well as the benefits and what brands’ should consider before making donations.  



The Benefits of Donations

Destroying or disposing of overstock in landfills is no longer acceptable for brands. Not only does doing so risk seriously damaging a brand’s image amongst its customers, but it is also becoming prohibited in more and more parts of the world. France has prohibited this since 2022, and the EU Council just passed a proposal that would include a ban on destroying unsold textiles. As a consequence, brands need to find new, more sustainable clearance options. Donations are a sustainable reuse solution for many reasons. First of all, it ensures the products are reused, which saves the resources needed to make another garment. This means they are not sent to a landfill, or destroyed. Another positive aspect is that donations contribute to society in a meaningful way. By supporting NGOs and charities, brands can provide clothing to those in need, and support local communities, all while promoting sustainable practices. This can also have positive brand implications, demonstrating corporate social responsibility and enhancing brand reputation amongst consumers.


Donation Tax Reductions In France

In some countries, brands are even subject to tax reductions when donating clothes worth more than a certain amount per year. This differs depending on the country. The following are the French tax benefits for donating unsold clothes and other fashion products as of 2024: 

  • Donations have to be done to a non-profit organization with social purpose and selfless management that does not work for the benefit of a few people.
  • It can be through either a monetary payment or a gift in kind (for example, unsold clothes.
For a donation above 1,000€:
  • Tax cut equal to 75% of the given amount for the portion less or equal to 1,000€
  • Tax cut equal to 66% of the given amount for the portion greater than 1,000€
  • For example, for a donation of 1,200€, you are entitled to a tax reduction of: €750 (€1,000 x 75%) + €132 (€200 x 66%), a total tax reduction of €882.
Read this article by the French Government for more information.


"Always look for organizations that align with brand values"

Identifying Suitable Organizations For Donations

To make sure that donations have a significant impact, it’s crucial to partner with the right NGOs and charities. Look for organizations that align with brand values and have a track record of effectively distributing donated clothing to those in need. Research NGOs that focus on areas such as poverty alleviation, disaster relief, or supporting vulnerable communities. 

It is of outermost importance to background search these NGOs. It is always preferred to work with reputable and well-known charities, and it is better to work with domestic or local NGOs. There have been many instances where NGOs dispose of unsold clothes in developing countries. Working with trustable and local NGOs is important to ensure the clothes are actually going to people in need, or towards financing the NGO’s activities through second-hand activities. Once products are shipped abroad, it becomes increasingly difficult to track them and control that they are managed sustainably

Building Relationships and Collaborations

Establishing strong relationships with NGOs and charities is essential for successful and impactful donations. Reach out to potential partners and initiate conversations about your donation program. Understand their specific needs and requirements, and ensure that your donations align with their objectives. Building long-term collaborations allows for ongoing support and a better understanding of how your brand can make a difference.

When donating unsold clothes, it’s important to send a minimum of high-quality garments to NGOs and charities. This ensures that you’re not simply transferring your waste problem onto them. Unfortunately, there is a prevailing issue of donated clothes being disposed of because they don’t meet the needs of people in need and cannot be sold. By focusing on quality, you can maximize the positive impact of your donations.

To ensure quality donations, brands need to carefully assess stock and compare it to the needs of the their partner NGOs. Remember that the goal is to provide cloths that can be useful for those in need. Prioritize items that are suitable for the weather conditions. For example, NGOs are going to need winter jackets during winter, not shorts.



Logistics and Practical Considerations

To streamline the donation process, establish efficient logistics and practical procedures. Determine the quantity of clothes you can donate and set a schedule for regular donations. Organize your inventory to separate unsold clothes earmarked for donation. This will enable you to track your donations and maintain accurate records for tax purposes, as donations to eligible NGOs may offer tax benefits. Work closely with your chosen NGOs and charities to coordinate the logistics of collecting and delivering the donated items. 


How FINDS Can Help You

At FINDS, we understand the importance of connecting brands with the right NGOs and charities that align with their sourcing criteria. We recognize that different brands may have specific requirements regarding the distribution of their unsold inventory. Our platform acts as a bridge, facilitating the matching process between brands and NGOs based on their unique criteria. By leveraging our platform, brands can ensure that their unsold fashion products are seamlessly directed to organizations that have a genuine need for clothes, based on their sourcing needs. Do good for you and for people in need by fostering long-lasting partnerships with partner NGOs. 


As fashion brands navigate the complexities of managing unsold inventory, donating clothes to NGOs and charities emerges as a powerful solution. By embracing this practice, brands can make a positive impact on society, reduce waste, and uphold their commitment to sustainability. With the right partnerships, strategic approaches, and a genuine desire to effect change, fashion brands have the potential to transform the industry and create a more inclusive and compassionate future. Let us come together to make a difference, one garment at a time.


“A tougher approach and lower tolerance towards the fashion industry”

Simon Olsson Tunér


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