Letter to potential donors
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To whom it may concern, <Use a personal name if you have one...>
My name is <Your name> and I'm writing on behalf of FreeGeek/Chicago ( http://freegeekchicago.org). As you may already be aware, FreeGeek/Chicago is a volunteer-run computer training and recycling center in Logan Square. <Personal touch could go here, like your relationship to FreeGeek...>
If and when you have old computers and other information technology that needs to be disposed of, we hope you'll keep us in mind.
FreeGeek/Chicago has several missions: It is our goal to responsibly recycle unusable electronics, to refurbish old computers and, in doing so, provide training and low cost / free computers to the Chicagoland region, and to thoughtfully advocate for free/open source software and economically feasible, environmentally responsible computer use.
To accomplish our goals, we run three core programs.
- Earn-a-box: Anyone can come and spend time learning computer teardown, testing, and building. At the end of 24 hours of service and training, volunteers earn a free computer.
- Sales program: FreeGeek sells computers and parts at very reasonable prices. Our standard, family-oriented desktop computer offering is priced at $50 for a complete system. The sale program helps cover our operational costs and provides afforable technology access to those without the time or inclination to be in the volunteer program.
- We recycle old computer hardware with partner organizations, primarily Supply Chain Services ( http://www.supply-chainservices.com) in Lombard, IL.
Last summer, some marketing interns created a video that helps explain what we do ( http://freegeekchicago.org/node/45), though we've grown tremendously even since the video was produced -- our material conditions have improved, and our volunteer base has grown significantly.
Recently, FreeGeek/Chicago received its federal 501(c)3 nonprofit tax status. As we have grown, our donation stream has grown thin compared to the number of people that we could otherwise serve. We are always short on desktops and our laptop situation is even worse. Now we can both accept computers as tax-deductible donations and provide documentation proving that all goods recycled at FreeGeek/Chicago go to local recyclers that abide by the Basel Treaty governing electronic waste disposal (see http://ban.org). We have stringent data destruction policies.
Despite our small size and volunteer staff, we believe we are among the most responsible computer recyclers in the Midwest, and our insistence on reuse means that computers have a longer lifespan before they must be recycled. We make sure that your old technology, however outdated, serves some purpose before recycling, or can be sold to those who need archaic equipment. Even completely broken and ancient systems can be used to train volunteers on their way to the recycler, and operational equipment will have a new life with people who both want and need the access that technology can afford.
We are especially looking for low-end Pentium-4-class desktops and better, Pentium III class laptops, still-functional LCD displays of any vintage, and parts such as video cards, hard drives and RAM.
In general, we would be happy to come talk to your organization about effective, responsible electronics recycling -- we can help you dispose of your electronics in safe, responsible, and cost-effective ways.
<More personal touches, if you are so moved.>
Thanks for your time... we hope to hear from you soon,