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Partnerships pack a mighty punch

You’re looking to make a big impact and we’re here to help you succeed. Consider using your budget to partner with a commercial restorer so you can scale up your Reboot scheme and transform many lives. We’ve highlighted the best options for you to think about below.


Stage 1. Getting started

In this stage, we’ll show you how to start planning a successful Reboot programme.

By the end of its four short steps, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify potential recipients
  • Identify suitable devices
  • Decide how to handle accessories
  • Choose the right connectivity

Identifying recipients and their needs

You'll begin by thinking about who would benefit from access to devices. It's important to understand what they need.

  • If you already have a relationship with potential recipients, you can work independently to identify and understand their needs.
  • If you’re starting from scratch, you can work with community partners who already support isolated, vulnerable or disadvantaged people.

Identifying suitable devices

Once you understand your recipients’ needs, you’ll be able to identify the types of devices that will make an impact on their lives. Your decision may be affected by your IT capabilities. You can make the restoration process easier to manage by restricting what people can donate.

  • Setting strict guidelines will improve the quality and usability of devices but can reduce the number of devices donated.
  • Being less strict about what you can accept will encourage more donations. However, you may incur costs when disposing of unsuitable items (although we'll share ways to minimise costs).

Sourcing accessories

Devices are useless without chargers and other accessories. We'll help you decide how to procure the accessories your recipients will need.

  • Insisting that accessories are donated with devices will lower your costs but is likely to put some donors off.
  • Accepting devices without accessories will increase donations but you’ll need to source missing accessories.
  • Accepting devices both with and without accessories will maximise donations and minimise costs.

Getting connected

Your recipients may not have internet access so it’s important that you set them up with a reliable connection. We'll help you decide between four common connectivity options.

  • Providing a SIM card and data package is an easy way to get smartphone users online.
  • Installing broadband will provide fast connection speeds but require a long-term contract.
  • Supplying a mobile/WiFi dongle will give smartphone and tablet users data on the move.
  • Encouraging urban users to access free public networks will keep your costs down.

Stage 2. Receiving devices

In this stage, we’ll show you how to get your campaign off the ground by targeting donors effectively.

By the end of its four short steps, you’ll be able to:

  • Decide between quantity and quality
  • Communicate your needs to donors
  • Decide how to collect devices

Getting your campaign off the ground

Attracting donations is key to success. We'll help you decide if you want to prioritise quality over quantity or vice versa!

  • Advertising to a broad group of individuals and businesses will maximise donations. However, you may receive more unsuitable devices.
  • Targeting smaller groups may be easier to manage (but you need to get your messaging right).

Helping donors help you

You'll need your donors to spend a few minutes getting their devices ready for donation. If they don't, you may struggle to use them.

  • We'll provide a simple checklist for laptop donors to follow. It's especially important that Macbook owners follow this.
  • Our smartphone and tablet checklist will ensure that donors factory reset their devices. If they don't, they'll be unusable!

Unlocking devices

Smartphones and tablets will only work on one network, unless they are unlocked. We'll help you decide which of the two options you want to take.

  • Asking donors to unlock their devices will make it easier for you but the £10 cost may put some donors off.
  • Paying to unlock devices yourself may increase donation rates. Working with a partner may help you to cover the costs.

Receiving donations

You can increase the number of donations you receive by making the donation process as easy as possible for donors.

  • Providing pre-paid postage is a simple, donor-friendly solution but it comes at a cost.
  • Setting up drop-off points will reduce costs. Particpating businesses can also help you promote your scheme.
  • Collecting devices works well in urban areas but can be costly and time-consuming in rural areas.

Stage 3. Readying devices

In this stage, we’ll explore how to carry out diagnostics and repairs.

By the end of its four short steps, you’ll be able to:

  • Decide if you need some help
  • Understand the importance of donors unlocking smartphones and tablets
  • Understand why wiping data is so important
  • Reassure your donors

Diagnostics and repairs - laptops

It's important to ensure that laptops are in good working order as recipients may lack the skills needed to fix them. Diagnosing and repairing laptop issues requires technical knowhow.

  • Managing the process yourself is a cost-effective solution if you have the skills and capacity to do so.
  • Working with a commercial restoration partner is a great choice if you have limited IT capability or are planning a large-scale campaign. Costs can be offset by monetising laptops which cannot be economically repaired.

Diagnostics and repairs - smartphones and tablets

It's easier to run diagnostics on smartphones and tablets than on laptops. However, you must ensure that devices are factory reset. If not, they'll be unusable!

  • You can use your own technical skills (and apps) to help you diagnose any issues. However, you'll still need skills and confidence to fix any problems.
  • A commercial restoration partner can restore devices more quickly. They can also monetise faulty devices to offset costs (and reduce your E-waste).

Erasing any existing data - laptops

Personal data is valuable to cybercriminals. We'll explain how you can protect donors by wiping laptops before rehoming them.

  • Using free open source software will allow you to wipe laptops yourself, providing you have the knowhow (or an IT professional to help).
  • Commercial partners will include data wiping as part of their service.

Erasing any existing data - smartphones and tablets

Donated smartphones and tablets will have been used to store photos, logins, banking details and other personal data. It's vital that donors factory reset their devices before donation. Doing so wipes any existing data. 

  • It's critical that donors factory reset their devices. Doing so will protect their data and allow you to restore them.
  • Commercial partners can only restore smartphones and tablets if the devices have been factory reset by their donors.

Stage 4. Going live

We've no doubt that each Reboot project will be a labour of love. In this stage, you'll experience the joys of transforming lives forever as you deliver restored devices to their new owners.

By the end of this stage, you’ll be able to:

  • Load devices with apps and software
  • Decide how you want to deliver devices
  • Think about how best to support new users
  • Confidently handle any E-waste

Installing an operating system - laptops only

You'll need to install new operating systems onto wiped laptops (excluding Macbooks). We'll help you choose the right operating system for your recipients' needs. There are two options.

  • Turning laptops into Chromebooks is a simple and free process.
  • Using other operating systems, like Microsoft Windows, will provide more capabilities. However, they are more taxing to set up and costs can quickly escalate.

Getting devices 'recipient ready'

Once you've restored devices, you'll need to set up the apps and accounts that recipients will need. Whoever has the strongest relationship with recipients is best placed to do this.

  • Local community partners may be able to help you set up devices more quickly. They may also have access to specialist software.
  • Managing the process yourself is more time-consuming but will give you more control.

Delivering devices

Delivering devices will be rewarding but it's also time-consuming. We'll help you decide if you want to do this on your own or have a little help.

  • Asking community partners for help is a great idea if they already understand your recipients and their needs.
  • Managing the process yourself will give you more control but it could be a steep learning curve! However, you'll always have the Reboot community for support.

Providing ongoing support

Inexperienced recipients will need support to get the most out of their new devices. We'll help you decide if you're able to do this on your own or if community partners can help.

  • Community partners may be able to use their existing relationships and/or IT training skills to provide quality support.
  • Supporting new users yourself may be time-consuming, but it's also highly rewarding.

Managing any unsuitable donations (E-waste)

E-waste is a growing issue. If you haven't arranged for a commercial partner to dispose of any unsuitable devices, you'll need to find a way of doing so which is environmentally friendly, safe and secure.

  • Commercial restoration partners may be able to monetise unsuitable devices to offset the cost of repairing other devices.
  • Working with a recycling partner will ensure that donors' data doesn't get into the wrong hands.
  • If you have the skills and capability, you can handle the recycling yourself.

Important notice

This website is intended as a guide only and does not constitute legal advice to any organisation considering setting up a donation, restoration and delivery or similar process. Whilst Nominet UK and other contributors have taken reasonable care in the preparation of this guide, no assurances are made in relation to the completeness or accuracy of the content and Nominet UK and other contributors will have no liability for any direct or indirect loss incurred by any person in relation to any process established.

Ready to get started?

If you’re interested in setting up a Reboot project, why not download the full Reboot playbook? Regardless of your budget and IT skills, it will help you develop a well-structured Reboot process and maximise your donations!