This has happened to just about everyone. You open your center, or announce that you’re opening, and the next day, someone drops off eight Commodore 64s from the early 1980s.

You can’t use them, of course. But being kind to these donors is crucial. The donors are trying to help. They’ve seen those computers in their basement for years and when they read about your writing center, a light bulb goes off. They get the Commodore 64s in the car and they drive down to your location and think it’s all a great idea.

Handling this in as kind a way as possible is key. Maybe you just take the computers, knowing you will have to give them to your local electronics recycling center. Maybe you gently direct this kind donor to said recycling center. But whatever you do, remember that this donor is trying to help, and think of any way you can to express your gratitude, even if you can’t receive their Commodore 64s (actually a decent machine in its time).

This goes for any unwanted donations of physical objects — inappropriate books, old file cabinets, ill-fitting furniture. If you don’t want these things, ideally you can discourage someone from bringing these things to your center. But if you can’t head them off at the pass, think of ways you can handle the situation without making this warm-hearted would-be donor feel bad about what was a gesture of real kindness.