FAQThe Hum Sum Free Exchange
Who can sign up?
Everyone can sign up here - Everyone can gift - Everyone can wish! Individuals, nonprofits, businesses (small, medium, large, departments, floors), schools, classrooms, government agencies, foundations, clubs, projects, special events... everyone's first eco-thought can be about gifting before trashing and wishing before buying new. There's no limit to posting and you can have multiple accounts, such as one for your office and one for your household. It's free, fast, and easy! Let's sort waste into resources!
Why do I have to sign up?
Because if we don't know where you are or where your stuff is, we can't match nearby gifts and wishes. It's not to make more work for you or for us, that we promise you. We also promise not to spam you, or share and sell your info. We wouldn't like that and we presume you wouldn't either. We collect just enough information to ensure members are responsible recipients and donors (or in case our staff needs to follow up) while protecting your privacy. We've made sign- up fast, free, easy and after you've entered your information once, the system will autofill. Happy Hum Sum Exchanging!
I have not received my activation email
Please check your spam/junk mail folder. If you still cannot retrieve your activation email, please contact our volunteer moderators at email@example.com.
I'm having trouble signing up. Can you help?
Well hmph! We apologize for any inconvenience. To be able to solve your problem effectively, please email our volunteer moderators at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the feedback form on this site and our tech support gurus will get back to you as soon as possible.
I forgot my login and/or password
You're not alone - don't worry. If you forgot your password, click on "Lost your password?" and follow the instructions to set a new one. If you can't remember your username, you can also use the email you signed up with as your login. If you have forgotten both your username and sign up email, you can simply open a new account (it's free) or contact our volunteer moderators at email@example.com. We are happy to help!
Why do I have to enter gift or wish location if you don't show street address?
The quickest, cheapest, most environmentally-friendly pickups and drop offs are when matches are in the same geographical area. Zip code, City and Country are enough for browsing members (and our system for auto-potential-matches). Once a request is made, Donors and Recipients can message details. For safety reasons, we need donors on record as responsible for the release of posted gifts. Nonprofit members with tax-deductible status need their tax ID #'s and address displayed on receipts, as well. We have found that when users go through this process it increases the quality of the postings and security of the transfer. Sometimes people sign up from home but have items at their mom's house or in storage. Our goal is to make recycling and reuse habitual and convenient. Once you sign up and post, your information is in the system and will autofill but you can edit. Our goal is to make recycling and reuse habitual and convenient. Happy Hum Sum Exchanging!
Who gets access to my contact information?
That's up to you. Please use our private and secure online messaging through your Hum Sum account. Also, when a recipient clicks on Request A Match for your gift, you both automatically get sent emails with links to the match. Click on the messaging icon to contact each other. Also, donors can always cancel a requested match. If you have concerns, fill out the feedback form or check in with the volunteer moderators at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, if there is any negative history about a member, you wouldn't be matched with them, as we reserve the right to remove membership status due to a complaint. We cannot disclose any history, however members can star rate transactions so that future recipients can see previous satisfactory transactions, if there are any. So far, we've only had happy thank you notes! Philanthropy attracts good karma.
How do I manage my account?
Go to "Home," click on "Dashboard," and then click on "Edit My Profile." You can also access and edit your profile through any department, and the changes you make will be saved throughout the website.
Are there any guarantees?
We have 5 guarantees:
1. We guarantee that our staff and system are dedicated to supplying those in need with available gifts.
2. We guarantee that every batch of postings is reviewed in our matching system. We do reserve the right (with notification or explanation) to refuse or remove gift/wish posts if they are illegal, offensive, or dangerous.
3. We guarantee that all new gift/wish postings are processed for potential matches 24/7. Gifts and wishes are sorted by categories, subcategories, quantity, and zip code latitude longitude proximity.
4. We guarantee that we highlight gifts and wishes on social media and our browse section to increase visibility and flow.
5. We guarantee that if you email us that you're worried that someone near you has been grabbing all the gifts, Matter of Trust.org staff will put you on our TLC list so you get a fair chance.
We cannot guarantee that all gifts will be accepted or that all wishes will be fulfilled, because we cannot control donors who may change their minds or if/when recipients can coordinate a pick up. But better to post and try then to not post at all!
I am receiving too many emails. How can I limit the number of emails I receive?
If you like notifications but want to reduce the number of emails you get, but don't want to totally block notifications about your Gifts or Wishes - just log in and modify any listings you may have to be MORE specific, by using categories, subcategories and descriptions. By being as specific as possible about your gift/wish, you will have greater success in finding a good match, and will likely receive way fewer extraneous emails.
How do I delete my account?
To delete your account email us your account username and we will remove you from our system.
How do I post a wish?
First, you sign up. You will automatically receive an activation email. After you log in to your account, go to the dashboard of the department that you would like to post in, and click on "Post a new Wish." You can also use the search function available on the "Main EA" department page if you have a specific keyword in order to find the best place to post your gift/wish.
How do I browse for gifts?
Go to the department that you wish to look through, then mouseover "Browse" in the menu bar. From there you can select to browse "ALL gifts" or "ALL wishes." If you see a gift that you’re interested in, you have the option of either requesting a match, or saving it for later in your Potential Matches.
How do we get (pick up) gifts?
Donors and Recipients are responsible for the physical transfer of gifts. Be sure to read the gift description for information the donor may have provided like:
- the actual size of the gift (to be sure your car/truck will hold everything)
- if you need more than 1 person to move it
- if recipient must use insured movers
- if donor prefers to drop-off and quickly clear out space
- if donor offers delivery for a small fee
- if donor will mail smaller items COD
- if donor wants to meet and transfer item at a public place
Matching is on a first-come, first-serve and waiting list basis. As soon as contact emails are exchanged, Donors and Recipients should message each other immediately to arrange a mutually convenient time for the pick up or drop off of the item(s). You will get an email alerting you of the match, and it will give you a link to our site's private messaging system. You can also get there by going to your dashboard and clicking "inbox."
If a transfer is not conveniently and quickly decided upon, either the Donor or Recipient can cancel the match at any time, with no explanation necessary for rematching with others.
It's most important to keep the gifts flowing, because there will always be more gifts/wishes and donors tend to be in a rush - we don't want to risk stuff going in the garbage!
There is only 1 current match at a time to allow for correct tax receipts records. For more details on the entire gift posting and transfer process, check out How This Works.
Do you have safety tips for members using The Free Exchange?
We only show country, city and zip code. Be sure to only enter your street address in the correct fields marked address 1 and 2 so they don't show online.
Use our private messaging system so there is no need to give your email, phone, or address if you don't want.
Best to arrange to drop off, mail, or meet in a public place, or have someone with you at pick up time for the transfer.
Companies may prefer to require professional, insured movers handle delivery, but if the recipients are responsible for that cost, it may make the free donation less helpful.
After each transaction, members can each decide to close the message thread or keep it open.
What kind of donated items do you usually match?
Most often, the donated items are office or home furniture, supplies, electronic equipment, and appliances. We always ask donors to honestly describe the condition (new, minor cosmetic flaws, excellent, in need of repair, broken...).
We also receive gifts of building supplies, medical supplies, and seasonal items such as decorations, food, toys, and clothing. But all sorts of crazy and unexpected miscellaneous items are offered! Check out our Clean Wave program to learn about what we do with all the hair and fur donations we receive!
We do reserve the right to refuse gifts of (or wishes for) illegal, offensive or dangerous items. Otherwise, post as many gifts or wishes as you like. You won't know if someone wants what you have, or has what you want, if you never ask!
I received a potential match alert email, but the item doesn't show up on my dashboard. Why not?
All gifts are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Usually, several recipients are emailed about the same gift simultaneously. As soon as anyone reserves a gift, the posting disappears from everyone else's Dashboard because it is no longer available. This is why it is important to check your messages regularly and to log on quickly for items you want. As a helpful reminder, this message is printed on every Potential Match Alert.
Can I control who will receive my gift?
Yes. If someone requests your gift, you will receive an email stating that someone clicked request, along with a link to follow that will show you who requested it. From there you can decide to either complete or refuse the match.
Always be safe and smart when dealing with strangers. We are not responsible for consequences from transfers (see Terms and Conditions) and are happy to say that as far as we know from member feedback, there haven't been any safety incidents since we began in 1998. Let's keep it that way!
If you already completed a match, but decide that you want your gift to go to a different recipient, go to the dashboard of the department you posted your gift in, click on "G Receipts to Verify," click on the gift in question, and then click on "Cancel Match and Void Receipt." Donors and recipients are not required to explain cancellations, whether for personal or logistical reasons. We send out polite cancellation notice alerts on everyone's behalf.
When a request is cancelled, the gift automatically goes back onto our main database to be re-matched with other groups. You can also delete your gift if it's ever dumped or donated through another charity.
What do the letters next to the people on my wait list mean?
If you have multiple people wishing for your gift, everyone but the first wisher will be put on a wait list. We categorize each user by type, so the letters N, I and B stand for Nonprofit, Individual, or Business, respectively. We recommend giving nonprofits first priority of receiving your gift, but keep in mind that the purpose of this site is to keep items out of the waste stream. If a nonprofit takes too long to respond, quickly move on to the next user that you'd like to receive your gift.
How do I cancel a match?
If you wished for a gift that you no longer want...
Please log in to your account. Under Dashboard click on My Wishes → My Current Wishes and select the wish you would like to cancel. From there, you can decide to either cancel the existing match and allow for new matches, or to cancel the existing match and delete the wish.
It is important to cancel requests for items that you don't want as soon as possible. Remember, other groups are probably waiting for the item you are cancelling and hope to be rematched, and the donor is eager to find someone who can pick it up or to drop it off.
If you want to cancel a wish for a gift you donated...
Please log in to your account. Under Dashboard click on My Gifts → My Current Gifts and select the gift you would like to cancel. From there, you can decide to either cancel the existing match and allow for new matches, or to cancel the existing match and delete the gift. You can also delete your gift posting if it ended up in the waste stream or got donated through another system.
If you're still having trouble after following these steps, feel free to email us with the item #.
I've lost the donor contact information. Where can I get it again?
In your profile, you can find your exchange and click on the link for the item you are requesting if it is still available.
I received an email but I do not have contact info for the other party.
Please use the private messaging secure link on the email.
Who determines the value of my gifts?
When posting a gift, the donor provides an amount under "Fair Market Value" (FMV). We also offer default suggested, averaged amounts.
Match Completed automatically creates a Thank You Letter/Tax Deductible Receipt for both the donor and the recipient. For your records and convenience, we provide an averaged suggested dollar amount based upon the description, quality & quantity in the posting.
This is only a suggested estimate - please remember we have not seen your item. According to IRS ruling, the actual depreciated amount the donor provides on the donor's tax return is solely the donor's responsibility. On the receipt next to our suggestion, there is also space to type or handwrite in an amount for your deduction.
On the same receipt we also provide an averaged suggested weight amount for your gift. This is especially helpful for businesses that already, or soon will be required by state law to recycle or divert a certain amount of tonnage from the waste stream for carbon benefits.
How can our company advertise on your site?
Our members are generally interested in progressive and environmentally conscious businesses. We started our email tag line program in response to requests for links to movers, handymen, tech support and eco-products. We get a lot of traffic to our site and send out thousands of daily "Potential Match Alerts". We like to encourage sponsors to inform our audience of their great work, while helping to support the system - that way, everyone can benefit. Please email our volunteer moderators at email@example.com for more information.
Can political nonprofits make wishes? For example, lobbyists, that do NOT have tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.
Yes, by all means. Everyone can post gifts and wishes. For tax exempt receipts in the USA, the Hum Sum accepts public charity partners which can "virtually" accept and re-distribute gifts to all recipients: individuals, businesses, nonprofits, government agencies. If you are a 501(c)(3) organization, your tax ID # will be prominent on the tax receipt. If you have a fiscal sponsor, their tax ID should be noted. If neither of those are the case, umbrella public charities such as Matter of Trust's ID # are the default option.
Can I post wishes even if I'm a for-profit business or just an individual?
Yes, everyone can post wishes and/or gifts!
Can the government (City, County, State, Federal) agency I work for post gifts/wishes?
Yes, by all means - everyone can post gifts and wishes. Why spend tax dollars on items that you could get donated? Why pay to dispose of items that you can re-distribute to those in need? Check the government agency during sign up or in your profile. For US donors, if you have a "friends of" or a fiscal sponsor Federal tax ID #, it can also be noted. Otherwise, the public charity Matter of Trust's EIN is the default option for the in-kind US tax deductible receipts.
Can we still sign up if our organization has a fiscal agent?
Yes, by all means, young nonprofits can really use desks and other gifts. When signing up, input your fiscal agent's Federal Tax ID number. When your organization receives its own Federal Tax ID number, you must edit your account information. We carefully verify all of our applications, so be sure to have permission to use your fiscal agent's Federal Tax ID number. If you have neither, the public charity Matter of Trust will umbrella your gifts on the receipt to the donor.
What percentage of the money I donate goes to The Hum Sum?
You can enter the Hum Sum from different sites, so it is good to check directly with those partners. At Matter of Trust.org, 95% of all donations will go to the designated program of your choice. If you do not have a specific program in mind, you can make a donation to the Matter of Trust General Fund and we will disperse the donation to whichever program needs funds the most. 5% of all donations cover administrative costs. Board members and founders work pro bono to keep costs down, and often provide matching incentives for incoming donations. To inquire about how to expand the benefits of your gifts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are you a free site?
Excellent question. Because we've discovered people don't like to pay to donate stuff.
Not surprisingly, it does cost money to run and upkeep this matching system, so we support this and our other programs through donations, sponsorships and our online store. 100% of our proceeds go to our mother organization MatterOfTrust.org, an ecological 501(c)(3) public charity, established in 1998.
We also don't warehouse any items, which saves a ton of money. We just match donors and recipients who are near eachother.
Our Founders and Board all work pro-bono and offer funding matching incentives. We are staffed by part-timers, students, interns, consultants, apprentices, seniors, work-from-home moms/dads and longterm, loyal volunteers. Together, we run a tight ship! Obviously, it's in our nature to avoid waste. Enjoy!
What is the good karma exchange?
Twice a year we ask for you to update your contact information, your gifts/wishes, and to add any surplus. While this service is free, if you would like to help us keep it going, we do suggest a $1 donation per successfully completed match. No amount is too big or too small. If you're a bit stretched at the moment the good karma exchange email arrives, we empathize and no worries. Keep using our service and consider "putting it on your tab" until you feel more flush. There's never any obligation. This is entirely voluntary.
How do I pay my tab?
You can simply click on the Donate button. And while you're reviewing your tab, if you see any completed matches that didn't actually go through, this is a perfect time to VOID them so that the waste diversion records are as accurate as possible. Thank you very much for sorting waste into resources and diverting from the waste stream. Proceeds go to the Hum Sum via our mother organization MatterOfTrust.org, an ecological 501(c)(3) public charity, established in 1998.