Mobile Phone Recycling

Mobile Phone Recycling

Fundraising ideas and activities

Mobile phone recycling is about as simple as it sounds.  Your club collects pre-used mobile phones, tablets and/or ipods and sends them to Fonebank and in return your club receives fundraising dollars.

It is quick and easy, helps us take care of the environment and also supports people in third world countries.

The amount of money donated by Fonebank depends on the value of each individual mobile phone, iPad or iPod and this depends on the age, make and model.

The newer and smarter the phone, the more money you’ll get for it.

What is a Fonebank fundraiser?

How does it work?

The process has four easy steps:

  1. Appoint a volunteer or group of volunteers to coordinate the fundraiser – Simply register with Fonebank who will provide you with all the information you need and the phone recycling bags to give to each person.
  2. Collect the phones, iPads or iPods and return the phones to the club.
  3. Send them to Fonebank
  4. Receive and bank the cheque!

Why a Fonebank fundraiser?

Clubs can make quick and easy money from recycling mobile phones.

There are a number of reasons why this fundraiser is so great including:

  • There is no cost to your club
  • No requirement for members to sell anything
  • Minimal time and effort required for potentially significant cash results

Clubs can make quick and easy money from recycling mobile phones.

Think about how many phones you or your club’s members have lying around that are no longer used.

It is as simple as collecting phones from members and shipping them off in return for cash.

When should I hold this fundraiser?

This can be run at any time of the year but best when the club is busy and members are in and out of the club often.  This helps remind your members and supporters and gives the opportunity for them to drop off their phones, iPads and iPods.

Key Activities

These are the tasks you will need to consider assigning to volunteers at your club:

Before the fundraiser

  • Decide a dates of your fundraiser and the final closing date.
  • Contact Fonebank and register.
  • Hand out Fonebank bags.
  • Promote the fundraiser and the need for your volunteer’s support.
  • Organise any competitions that will be used to help motivate members and supporters to collect more phones, iPads or iPods.

During the fundraiser

  • Communicate with your members and supporters and keep them updated on how the collections are going.
  • Encourage more collecting, this may be through a competition.
  • Distribute and order more bags as necessary.
  • Continue to promote and advertise the fundraiser
  • Collect and collate phones, iPads and iPods as it comes in, ensure they are in a safe and secure location.


After the fundraiser

  • Count the final amount of phones, iPads and iPods.
  • Send these items to Fonebank.
  • Publicly thank everyone involved.
  • Announce the amount of money raised in club newsletters, on social media, website and around the club.

Who can help?

The only way a Fonebank Fundraiser will be successful is if your volunteers, members and supporters are engaged to help your club.  You will need volunteers to help:

  • Hand out bags.
  • Communicate with Fonebank.
  • Collect and collate the incoming phones, iPads and iPods.
  • Most importantly – collect phones, iPads and iPods!

You could also approach current club Sponsors for any prizes you plan to use if you are running a motivational competition.

Recruiting your people

It is important to create a culture of volunteering at your club to help not only with fundraising but also across the day to day running of your club.  For more on how to create this at your club, click here.

Using technology to make it easier

You may like to consider using technology to reduce the work load on your volunteers and increase your fundraising dollars.

Your club may like to use social media, email newsletters and your club website to promote the fundraiser.  You may also like to live stream the leaders who have collected the most items to help build friendly competition and to raise awareness for what you are collecting.

Financial Considerations

Potential profit for your Fonebank will be driven entirely by your club’s ability to collect phones, iPads and iPods. The newer and smarter the device – the more money you’ll get for it.

Values can vary from a few dollars to hundreds.

Clubs can raise anywhere from $500 to $1500 with very little effort.  

Even non-working phones that can be repaired have value (around half) but old, obsolete and broken phones have no value.

You might like to approach businesses and organisations, asking them to donate their surplus phones and/or tablets when they upgrade. Most organisations like to be seen to be supporting their community.

Please also note that where required, Fonebank provides secure erasure of all sensitive company data on the mobile phones.

You might also like to approach people who like to keep up with the latest technology. Their ‘old’ phones will probably be worth quite a lot.


Promotion for this fundraiser is generally low or no cost and focused locally.  If you are looking to promote externally you will need to communicate when and where the phones, iPads and iPods will need to be dropped to.  Ideas for promotions and marketing include:

  • Promotions at club functions
  • Newsletters, email, social media
  • Match day promotions
  • Paid advertising (only if low cost)
  • Local papers or radio
  • Posters (photocopied)
  • Key locations in your community

Communication considerations

You may like to use social media and club newsletters to remind members and supporters to collect phones, iPads and iPods and also to build excitement, motivation and perhaps competition to get people to collect as many items as they can!   

Also ask them to “share” the fundraiser online for even more reach!

What can go wrong? (Risk Management)

Low amount collected

To ensure you collect a high amount of phones, iPads and iPods, you might also like to set up a competition within your club to keep your members and supporters motivated.   

Licenses and Permits

Council or local statutory authority approval may be required and we recommend you check with your local council.

It is also important to contact your insurance company to ensure your public liability insurance policies covers your fundraiser.

Additional Factors to consider


Offering prizes to those who collect the most phones, iPads and iPods is a great way to motivate club members. This results in some members collecting large amounts, which negates the effect of some members not collecting any.  

Clubs can also encourage members to start collecting as soon as possible by offering all those who collect items in the first week entry to an early bird raffle.  

Posting updates on leading collectors on the club’s social media is a also a great encouragement technique.

Environmental Considerations

Most phones that come to Fonebank are working, or don’t work but can be repaired, so are re-used. Working mobile phones are refurbished and re-used in developing countries.

They also ensure that any broken and obsolete mobiles received are safely recycled according to Australian recycling guidelines.

Data Removal

There are two levels of data removal.

  1. Restore the phone to its original factory settings.
  2. Secure erasure of sensitive data option.

When approaching businesses and some organisations it’s important that you can let them know that Fonebank offers an option for certified erasure of:

  • Commercially
  • Legally
  • Politically
  • Ethically and
  • Financially sensitive data


Club members need to be aware when and where they are to drop off phones, iPads and ipods.

Your club will need to ensure there is someone, or a small group of people in charge of receiving, storing, distributing and collecting the chocolates or lollies and money.

Additional Revenue Opportunities

A Fonebank fundraiser may also provide an opportunity to run a raffle to help build your club’s fundraising dollars.


This procedure should be treated as a guide only. Your club should seek advice specific to the needs of your club and event. Seek further details from authorities and service providers; especially in regards to insurance, licences, permits, spectator and participant safety.