We recently had a clear out of old board games that we no longer play and we were wondering what to do with them. There are quite a few places that will give old board games a good home.
Where can you donate old board games?
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- Orphanages and children’s homes
- Therapy centres
- Family shelters
- Children’s hospitals (check first)
- Retirement homes
- Youth clubs
- Scouts and Girl Guides
- Homeless shelters
- Local libraries
- After school clubs
- University and college societies
- Friendly local game stores
- Board game cafes
The simplest way to donate old board games to take them along to your local charity shop to be sold and raise money for the charity. You could always sell your old games yourself and raise money for a good cause that way too.
If you want your old board games to go somewhere where they will be played instead, I’ve got some ideas for you.
Think about what kind of board games you want to donate and who would play them.
Buckaroo is perfect for children, but not as interesting for teenagers older people.
Donating board games for children
If you’ve got games like Mouse Trap, Hungry Hippos and Connect 4, these are great board games for children. So where might take donations of these kinds of games?
1. Orphanages and children’s care homes
Board games can be a good way to get children talking and forming relationships with other children in care.
2. Therapy centres
Places like autism therapy centres can be great for board game donations. Board games have clear rules for children to follow and provide an activity to keep them engaged while talking about other issues.
3. Family shelters
In sheltered accommodation, mums or dads are likely to bring their children with them and will have left most of their belongings behind. Board games provide a great way for the family to spend time together and take their mind off things.
Remember rainy days at school? I do. My school said that we had to stay inside when it was raining and do some drawing, reading or play games. The selection of games was really poor, it’s not exactly high on the school budget list, so a donation of board games might go down very well at your local school.
5. Children’s hospitals
This recommendation comes with a caveat. Some hospitals have very strict hygiene standards and may not take donations of used board games. Others will take them and put them in waiting rooms or parts of the hospital with less hygiene risk. Give them a call and find out if they would find a use for old board games.
Donating family board games
If you’ve got household board games like Scrabble, Monopoly and Jenga they will generally appeal to everyone from pre-teens to retirees.
Churches often put on community events such as lunch clubs, youth clubs and fundraising days. Family board games would be a great donation for them to use at some of their events.
7. Retirement homes
Most retirement homes have a communal area where residents can meet, chat and play games. Board games are a perfect donation for places with these facilities.
8. Youth clubs
Usually held in a local community centre, youth clubs are always looking for ways to keep teenagers entertained. A donation of board games could give them something to do that’s cheap and can be done inside on rainy days.
9. Scouts and Girl Guides
Famous for their camping trips and outdoor adventures, scouts and girl guides would likely welcome some board games. Imagine a group playing board games around the campfire on a trip. Sounds lovely.
10. Homeless shelters
Homeless shelters provide a valuable safe place for people to rest. Being homeless is a lonely and isolating time, and board games can help people in the same situation to connect with each other.
The YMCA is famous for providing sheltered accommodation but did you know they also provide before and after school clubs, holiday clubs and camps, school activities, respite for young carers and a lot more? With all those activities going on, I’m sure they could find a use for some old board games.
Donating tabletop hobbyist board games
If the type of boardgames you want to donate are more Arkham Horror than Monopoly, you may want to donate them to places where they will be loved by other hobbyist board gamers.
12. Local libraries
My local library has a regular board games evening. Their gamebrarian teaches people how to play different board games. See if your local library has a regular board game night. If not, maybe suggest it to them? Your donation could be just what they need to get it going.
13. After school clubs
Give your local schools a call and see if they have a board game club. The best thing about this is that there will be a teacher there to teach the rules and an audience who are keen to learn and play new games. Your games could help these children become the board game designers of the future!
14. University and college societies
Your local university or college may well have a student-run society that meets regularly to play board games. Students don’t have much money for buying games, I’m sure they’d love a donation!
15. Friendly local game stores
It might seem a bit strange to donate games to your FLGS, but a lot of them have their own gaming events now where some opened boxes of games would be great. They could use the games as demo copies for customers so they don’t have to open their own stock.
16. Board game bars and cafes
Games get a lot of use in board game bars and cafes (See my post What is board game bar or cafe? for more info). Being used thousands of times takes its toll on a game especially when there is food and drink around!
Your donation could mean that the board game cafe can expand their existing collection of games, or if they already have your games in stock, they can use your copy as a replacement for theirs.
Tips when donating old board games
- Think about the age group and target audience for a board game
- Give the place a call to check if they can use the games
- Check that all the pieces are there!
- Make sure the game is clean and nothing is broken
- Consider donating different games to different places
- Don’t be offended if places say they don’t want them
Do hospitals take donations of old board games?
Hospitals may take a donation of old board games, but it depends on the hospital. They could use the games in waiting rooms or in other areas with fewer hygiene risks. Contact your local hospital to find out.
What else can I do with old board games?
If you want to repurpose your old board games instead of donating them, you could use the components from the games to design your own games. You could use the pieces for art and craft projects such as customized photo frames, notebooks and using the board for coasters.
I hope this list has been helpful for you to find a home for your old board games! Donating them to people who will appreciate them is such a wonderful thing to do. Thanks for being one of the good guys!