Prom has always been considered something of a rite of passage in high school — for many girls, it's a meaningful night they'll remember forever. But while your dress may serve as a nice keepsake from the evening, it could mean much, much more to somebody else. By donating your prom dress in 2017, you could give another girl the opportunity to have her special night, too.
There's no doubt that prom dresses can get pricey, and for young women who can't afford them, that may mean the difference between going to their high school prom and staying home. Even if you feel like prom can be a little overhyped (after all, there are plenty of other amazing, memorable teenage moments), every girl deserves the opportunity to experience it for herself and to be a part of the tradition.
Organizations that collect and distribute prom dresses help make the dance a reality for many underprivileged teens, and you can support them by donating your own gown and remembering it by the photos (because you're probably never going to wear it again, TBH).
For the most part, organizations ask for clean, unstained dresses in great condition from the past five years (although every org has different guidelines). Bridesmaids dresses often work, too. Some also take shoes, accessories, purses, unopened makeup, and tuxedos. If your prom dress doesn't fit the guidelines but you're still interested in contributing to the cause, many also take monetary donations.
Here are some of the different places and ways you can donate your prom dress in 2017, because it can make a major impact on someone else's high school experience. And that usually feels a lot better than having a once-worn dress collecting dust in your closet.
While most organizations aren't nation-wide (we'll get there), one of the major national prom dress collectors is Project G.L.A.M., which stands for Granting Lasting Amazing Memories. It's a part of WGIRLS Inc., an international nonprofit women’s membership organization. To date, they've provided dresses for over 11,000 young women. You can donate your dress to them by mailing it after checking their donation criteria, or take the G.L.A.M. pledge and donate $5.
Organizations With Local Chapters
Even though most organizations aren't completely nation-wide, there are many regional organizations with chapters and drop-off locations around the United States. One of the major ones is South Florida-based Becca's Closet, which has chapters in 29 states (and usually, several chapters in each). Here's how to find one near you. If there isn't one already and you're a student feeling called to help out, you can also start your own chapter.
Another option is Operation Prom, which has drop-off locations in eight states. While most are closed for the 2017 prom season, you can hang onto your dress and check back this fall to donate your dress for 2018.
Probably the most prominent way to donate prom dresses is through local organizations. A quick Google search of "donate prom dress in [your city here]" is an easy way to find organizations and drives going on around you. Some are full-on charities, while other options are drives put on by radio stations, dry cleaners, schools and churches, you name it. Donating in your city is also a way to support girls in your local community. A few examples are the Glass Slipper Project in Chicago, the Prom Dress Exchange in Denver, and the Princess Project in several cities throughout California.
Other Ways To Donate
You could also donate your prom dress to more general donation organizations, like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You can also find different organizations in your area that accept formal dresses through the Donation Town database.
If you're feeling really inspired and there aren't any better options around you, you might consider partnering with a local school and hosting a dress drive in your town. It's a big undertaking, but it can also be an incredibly rewarding way to give back (even if your prom dress days are long behind you).