Donating Board Games - A Comprehensive Guide to Giving Back, three volunteers giving back to others

Donating Board Games – A Comprehensive Guide to Giving Back

Board games have been a source of joy, entertainment, and bonding for people of all ages.

Whether it’s a classic like Monopoly or a modern strategy game, these games have the power to bring friends and families together.

However, as time goes by, some board games may lose their appeal or simply gather dust on shelves.

Instead of letting them sit idle, a wonderful way to give them a new lease on life is by donating them to those who can truly benefit from their enjoyment.

In this article, we will explore different avenues for donating board games and guide you through the process of giving back.

Key Takeaways:

  • Donating board games can bring joy, entertainment, and educational opportunities to individuals and communities.
  • Local charities, schools, hospitals, senior centers, youth centers, online platforms, and community swap events are avenues for donating board games.
  • Prepare board games for donation by ensuring they are in good condition and providing instructions.
  • Maximize your impact by researching organizations, donating a variety of games, prioritizing quality, considering monetary donations, and spreading the word.
  • By donating board games, you contribute to social interaction, cognitive development, comfort, and community engagement.

Why Donate Board Games?

Board games have the potential to bring joy and entertainment to people who may not have access to them otherwise.

By donating board games, you can:

  • Foster social interaction and connection among individuals or groups: Board games provide a platform for people to gather, interact, and engage in friendly competition. They encourage conversation, laughter, and bonding among players.
  • Provide educational opportunities for children to learn through play: Many board games incorporate educational elements, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. By donating educational board games, you can contribute to a child’s cognitive development while making learning enjoyable.
  • Bring comfort and distraction to those facing challenging circumstances: Board games can provide a welcome distraction and offer moments of respite for individuals going through difficult times, such as patients in hospitals or those in shelters.
  • Promote cognitive development and strategic thinking skills: Many board games require strategic planning, decision-making, and analytical thinking. By donating strategic board games, you can help individuals of all ages enhance their cognitive abilities and develop valuable skills.
  • Encourage teamwork, communication, and problem-solving abilities: Cooperative board games require players to work together towards a common goal. By donating cooperative games, you can foster teamwork, communication skills, and the ability to solve problems collaboratively.

Local Charities and Nonprofit Organizations

One of the best ways to donate board games is by reaching out to local charities and nonprofit organizations.

These organizations often have programs or initiatives that cater to specific communities or causes.

Consider the following options:

  • Contact shelters: Homeless shelters often welcome donations of board games to provide recreational activities for residents. These games can bring moments of joy and entertainment to those facing challenging circumstances. Organizations such as Covenant House or local homeless shelters are good places to start.
  • Community centers: Many community centers organize events or programs for children and families, and they often accept board game donations. These games can be used during community events, after-school programs, or as part of organized activities. Reach out to community centers, such as the YMCA or Boys and Girls Clubs, to inquire about their board game donation policies and specific needs.
  • Organizations focused on children’s welfare: Look for organizations that support children in need or at-risk youth. These organizations may use the donated board games for recreational activities, fundraisers, or as rewards for achievements. Reach out to local organizations, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or local youth centers, to find out how you can donate board games to support their programs.

When donating to local charities and nonprofit organizations, it’s essential to communicate with them directly to understand their specific needs and any guidelines they may have regarding the donation process.

By doing so, you can ensure that your board games go to the right recipients and positively impact the community.

Schools and Educational Institutions

Schools, both elementary and high schools, can greatly benefit from board game donations.

Many teachers incorporate board games into their lesson plans to make learning more interactive and engaging.

Consider the following avenues:

  • Reach out to local schools: Contact schools in your area and inquire about their acceptance of board game donations. Schools often appreciate donations that support their curriculum or extracurricular activities. Additionally, they may use board games during free periods, after-school clubs, or as rewards for academic achievements.
  • School districts: Some school districts have specific policies or programs for accepting donations. Reach out to the district office to explore opportunities for donating board games. They may be able to distribute the games to multiple schools within the district.

When donating to schools, consider the age range and educational value of the board games.

Games that align with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects or encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills are often sought after by educators.

It’s also helpful to inquire about any specific themes or topics that teachers may be focusing on to ensure that your donation aligns with their needs.

Children’s Hospitals and Pediatric Wards

Board games can bring smiles and laughter to children facing health challenges in hospitals and pediatric wards.

Donating games to these facilities not only provides entertainment but also helps create a positive and comforting environment.

Consider the following when donating to children’s hospitals:

  • Contact hospitals: Reach out to hospitals in your area and inquire about their policies for accepting board game donations. Some hospitals may have specific guidelines or restrictions due to infection control measures or the needs of their patients. Child life departments or volunteer services can provide information about donation procedures.
  • Age-appropriate games: Choose board games that are suitable for children of different age groups. Consider games with colorful visuals, simple rules, and shorter playing times for younger children, while more complex games may appeal to teenagers. Some hospitals have specific units, such as teen lounges or playrooms, where games for older children and teenagers are particularly useful.
  • Hygiene considerations: Ensure that the games are in good condition and can be easily cleaned or sanitized before use in a hospital setting. Avoid donating games with small parts that could pose a choking hazard. Hospitals often appreciate games that are easy to disinfect and have durable components.

Additionally, some hospitals may have playrooms or dedicated spaces where children can enjoy board games.

Inquire about these areas and whether they have specific game preferences or requirements.

By donating to children’s hospitals, you can bring moments of joy and normalcy to children who are undergoing medical treatments.

Senior Centers and Retirement Communities

Board games are not just for children and teenagers; they are also enjoyed by older adults.

Senior centers and retirement communities often organize game nights and social events where residents can come together to play and bond.

When donating to senior centers, keep the following in mind:

  • Contact senior centers: Reach out to local senior centers or retirement communities and inquire about their interest in board game donations. They may have designated game areas or social clubs that regularly engage in board game activities. By donating board games, you can contribute to their recreational programs and provide opportunities for social interaction among seniors.
  • Choose games suitable for seniors: Consider games that are easy to learn and play, with larger fonts and clear instructions. Games with themes that resonate with seniors, such as nostalgia-inducing classics or games related to their interests, can be particularly enjoyable. Some popular choices for seniors include Scrabble, Chess, Dominoes, and Trivia games.
  • Multiplayer options: Select board games that can accommodate multiple players, encouraging social interaction and friendly competition. Cooperative games, where players work together towards a common goal, can also be a great choice for fostering camaraderie among seniors. Cooperative games like Pandemic or Forbidden Island promote teamwork and collaboration.

It’s essential to consider the cognitive abilities and preferences of the senior population when choosing board games.

Some seniors may prefer traditional games like chess or bridge, while others may enjoy newer games that offer mental stimulation and social engagement.

Providing a variety of game options ensures that there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Youth Centers and After-School Programs

Youth centers and after-school programs are dedicated to providing a safe and enriching environment for children and teenagers outside of school hours.

These organizations often rely on donations to expand their resources and offer a variety of activities.

Consider the following when donating to youth centers:

  • Contact local youth centers: Reach out to youth centers or after-school programs in your area and inquire about their donation policies and specific needs. These programs often welcome board game donations to provide recreational opportunities for children and teenagers.
  • Engaging and educational games: Choose board games that promote learning, critical thinking, and teamwork among young participants. Educational games that cover various subjects, such as science, math, or language skills, can be particularly beneficial.
  • Variety of games: Donate a mix of classic board games, strategy games, and cooperative games to cater to different preferences and age groups. This ensures that there are options for all children, regardless of their interests or abilities.

Youth centers and after-school programs often provide opportunities for children to socialize, learn new skills, and build relationships.

By donating board games to these organizations, you contribute to their mission of fostering positive development and creating a supportive community.

Online Donation Platforms

If you’re looking to reach a broader audience and make a difference beyond your local community, online donation platforms are a great option.

These platforms connect donors with organizations or individuals in need.

Consider the following online donation platforms for board game donations:

  • BoardGameGeek’s Virtual Flea Market: BoardGameGeek, a popular online community for board game enthusiasts, has a virtual flea market where individuals can list board games for sale or donation. It provides a platform for connecting with like-minded individuals who appreciate the value of board games.

Online donation platforms offer convenience and the opportunity to reach a wider audience.

They allow you to connect with organizations or individuals who are actively seeking board games and are passionate about spreading the joy of gaming.

Community Swap Events

Community swap events provide an opportunity for individuals to exchange items they no longer need with others who may find value in them.

Consider organizing or participating in a community swap event to donate board games.

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Look out for local swap events: Check community bulletin boards, social media groups, or local event listings for upcoming swap events in your area. These events often promote sustainability and encourage community engagement. Participating in a swap event allows you to directly connect with individuals who may be interested in your board game donations.
  • Organize a swap event: If there are no existing swap events, consider organizing one in your community. Find a suitable venue, invite neighbors and friends, and establish guidelines for swapping items, including board games. It can be a fun and interactive way to connect with others while giving back.

Community swap events provide a platform for individuals to find new homes for their pre-loved board games while discovering other items of interest.

They foster a sense of community and promote the reuse of goods, reducing waste and benefiting the environment.

How to Prepare Board Games for Donation

Before donating board games, it’s crucial to ensure they are in good condition and ready for use.

Follow these steps to prepare your board games for donation:

  1. Check the components: Ensure that all the game pieces, cards, and accessories are complete and in good condition. Replace any missing or damaged components if possible.
  2. Clean the games: Wipe the game boards, cards, and pieces to remove any dirt or debris. Use mild cleaning solutions or disinfectants if necessary, taking care not to damage the game materials.
  3. Package the games: Place the game components back in their original box or use resealable bags to keep them organized. Including any instructions or manuals that came with the games is helpful for the recipients.
  4. Provide instructions: If there are specific rules or instructions for playing the game, consider printing them out and including them in the donation. This ensures that the recipients have all the necessary information to enjoy the game to its fullest.

By taking these steps, you ensure that the donated board games are ready for immediate use and maximize their impact.

It shows your thoughtfulness and consideration for the individuals or organizations that will receive them.

Tips for Maximizing Your Impact

To make the most out of your board game donation, consider the following tips:

  • Research the organizations: Before donating, research the organizations or institutions you plan to support. Learn about their missions, values, and the specific populations they serve. This ensures that your donation aligns with their needs and goals. It’s also helpful to inquire about any specific themes or topics that organizations may be focusing on, as they may have special requests for certain types of board games.
  • Donate a variety of games: Include a mix of classic board games, educational games, and strategic games to cater to different preferences and age groups. This allows the recipients to have options and choose games that suit their interests. Additionally, consider donating games in different languages to support multicultural communities.
  • Quality over quantity: Focus on donating board games in good condition rather than overwhelming recipients with a large quantity of worn-out or incomplete games. Ensuring the quality of your donations shows that you value the recipients’ experience. Consider adding new games or popular releases to make the donation more exciting and appealing.
  • Consider monetary donations: In addition to donating board games, consider providing monetary contributions to organizations that promote board game literacy or support underserved communities. This allows the organizations to purchase games that specifically meet their needs or invest in other areas that enhance their programs.
  • Spread the word: Encourage others in your community to donate board games by sharing your experience and the positive impact it can have. Utilize social media, community forums, or local newsletters to raise awareness and inspire others to give back through board game donations.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your board game donation has a meaningful and lasting impact on the individuals and communities it reaches.


Donating board games is a wonderful way to give back and spread joy to those in need.

Whether you choose to support local charities, schools, hospitals, or explore online platforms, your contribution can make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and communities.

By sharing the gift of board games, you create opportunities for connection, learning, and entertainment, enriching the lives of others.


Can I donate board games that are missing pieces?

While it’s best to donate complete board games, some organizations may still accept games with missing pieces.

Reach out to the specific organization or charity to inquire about their policies regarding incomplete games.

Are there any restrictions on the types of board games I can donate?

Different organizations may have specific guidelines or preferences when it comes to the types of board games they accept.

Some may prioritize educational games, while others may welcome a variety of genres.

It’s best to check with the organization beforehand to ensure your donation aligns with their needs.

Can I donate used board games?

Yes, used board games can be donated as long as they are in good condition.

It’s essential to clean the games and ensure they are complete before donating them.

Are there any tax benefits to donating board games?

In some countries, charitable donations, including board games, may be eligible for tax deductions.

Check your local tax regulations or consult with a tax professional to understand the specific benefits and requirements.

Is it possible to donate board games internationally?

Yes, there are international organizations and platforms that facilitate board game donations across borders.

Research international charities or online platforms that accept international donations to find suitable options for donating board games outside your own country.