Receiving Training Checklist

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New to Hardware Donations? Have no fear! This guide will teach you what you need to know to run Receiving successfully and smoothly.

Your main responsibilities are to:

  • Teach Adoption volunteers basic intake procedures using this page as a guide.
  • Teach Adoption volunteers about Safety Procedures. Learn about what to do with hazardous stuff.
  • Manage flow of gizmos through the hardware donations receiving area:
  • Keep staff updated on changes in receiving
  • Ensure that Hardware Donations is well integrated with Free Geek's production and sales and recycling areas:
    • Run Basic Testing so that the adoption volunteers, the store, and grants get what they need.
  • Maintain sanity and be a good role model for your volunteers! Your stress escalates their stress and potential nervousness.
  • Strive to improve the organization, training, and communication within receiving and other areas.


This is a training checklist for new Receiving staff members and interns.

New staff member/intern's name: __________________________________

Trainer's Name: _____________________________________

Receiving Basics Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
The 3 Priorities (Assisting the Donor, Clearing the Carts, Sorting)
Assisting the Donor
OR E-Cycles Training and Stickering (see Ewaste Training
What we don't take
Distinguishing between systems and servers
Clearing the Carts
System Evaluation Incoming
CRT Monitor Incoming
CRT TV Incoming
Printerland Incoming
LCD Incoming
MacLand Incoming

Receiving Boxes (Remember to show them where the boxes go and which boxes get sorted through first) wiki page Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Cord Chart
Purple Boxes (Cords)
Green Boxes (Computers)
Yellow Boxes (Peripherals)
White Boxes (Recycling)
Blue Boxes (Tapes and Disks)
Styrofoam and Packaging Materials
Copper Bearing Materials
Dirty plastic,filmy plastic, E-plastic
Cardboard boxes and Recycling

Safety in Receiving wiki page and Hazardous Materials wiki page Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Safe Lifting
Safe System Stacking Procedures
Broken/Open CRT Monitors
Broken Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Leaking Batteries
Mercury bearing thermostats or thermometers
What we don't accept due to safety concerns

Data Security Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Explain why data security is important
Laptops (to the Laptop box--no power supplies)
Hard drives (to SysEval)
External hard drives (to Laptop box--with cord)
Cell phones, PDAs, Digital Cameras, flash drives, etc. (to the Lock Box)
Tivos, DVRs, and other misc. with hard drives (to system evaluation)
XBox 360, Playstation 3, other newer gaming systems (to the store)
CDs/DVDs (shred if home-made) and other media

Opening Receiving Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Bring in "No Dumping" sandwich board
Bring in and tally any dumps
Empty any boxes that need it and replace boxes as necessary
Introduce yourself to all volunteers
Assess new volunteers' abilities (check schedule to verify) and train them accordingly

Closing Receiving Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Put out "No Dumping" sandwich board
Close and lock doors at 6:00pm
Laptop Cart to Laptops (Macs to MacLand and external hard drives in Tardis)
Empty lock box and bring to Tardis
Take paper recycling out on Thursday
Double check that no hard drives (or other data-bearing devices) are left out
Turn off laptop and computers in basic testing area
Turn off lights

Handling Large Donations wiki page and Staffing Receiving Alone Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Large Donations - Tallying Covered and Uncovered items
Organize and tally the carts, then have volunteers bring carts back to the warehouse
If single staffed, stay at the front. Have volunteers help donors and take carts to the warehouse
Instruct volunteers to take full boxes to the warehouse; name each box and explain where it goes
If alone (without volunteers), load up carts and consolidate items going to the same area
Get someone at the front desk to cover the front door while you take carts back

When things get slow Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Sort and bag batteries
Go through boxes to ensure they have appropriate items in them and re-wrap cords if needed
Basic testing
Clean receiving area (sweep, put away unused cups, remove stuff from under the table and in corners)
Break down and bag Styrofoam
Sort anti-static bags and shopping bags for the Store
Ask the Warehouse if there are any slow-time tasks for receivers
Clean up basic testing area (cull ugly keyboards, mice, speakers)

Basic Testing Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Keyboards (Testing, Sorting and Storage)
Mouse (Testing, Sorting and Storage)
Speakers (Testing, Sorting and Storage)

Volunteers In Receiving Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
White Board for Names
Training Volunteers in Receiving
Shadow two staff members as they orient volunteers
Volunteer Safety
Volunteer Recognition (Geek Love notes, etc)
Volunteer Break Policy
Volunteers with different abilities
Preventing theft (no coats hanging in receiving!) wiki page

The Warehouse Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Going to the warehouse (use carts, don't go through system evaluation)
Monitor Tetris
Steel bin
Cardboard bin
Paper Bins
Gaylords (where to set our boxes)
Advanced Recycling/Deconstruction pallet
What to communicate with the warehouse staff about

The Store Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Tour the store--see what they sell.
Explain why the store is important to Free Geek and Receiving's role in generating funds.
To leave in the packaging or not in the packaging? Cords, no! Some other stuff, yes.
Bringing items to the store
Items that the store likes/does not like
What to communicate with the store staff about (large donations, etc)

Online Sales and Bulk Sales Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Sales priorities: 1. Thrift store, 2. Online sales, 3. Bulk Sales
Items that online sales likes
What to communicate with online sales staff (Santiago) about
Items that Bulk Sales likes
What to communicate with bulk sales stuff (John) aobut

Other Areas Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
Hardware [Advanced] testing (incoming, what they test, etc.)

Admin Date New Hire Initials Staff Initials
The Receiving Wiki Category
Receiving Boxes
Receiving E-Mail List (subscribe and explain)
Printing 'Uncovered' Stickers
Printing and Laminating Signs

Valuable Lessons!

Lastly, here are some valuable lessons we've learned and want to pass along:

  • It's not the end of the world if you recycle something you shouldn't have, or if you have things leftover when you're supposed to end your shift. There's always more stuff and always more volunteers tomorrow!
  • People LOVE to repackage their stuff, so don't always assume what's in the box is what's pictured on the outside
  • Don't leave unlabeled bins around (especially ones that look like trash cans!): people will inevitably put a mix of stuff into it (trash, food, paper, electronics) and then you'll have to sort it out again. You've been warned.
  • Ask lots of questions and write down who said what, because everyone has a slightly different idea of things.
  • The "handoff" is your friend :)

Potential projects/improvements:

  • Documentation for training boxes
  • Staff FYI clipboard (add two? Make into a binder?)
  • Basic testing


Before Opening:

  • Put away any hardware left over from the night before and tally any dumps.
  • Empty any boxes that need it and replace boxes as necessary.
  • Make sure that you have enough donation tally sheets on each clip board (if not see if there are any that can erased at the front desk or print more) and make sure each clipboard has a sharpened pencil.
  • Gather and clear all carts.
  • Bring in the anti-dumping sandwich board.
  • If appropriate, put out the big white tent.

At the beginning of your shift:

  • Introduce yourself to all volunteers.
  • Assess new volunteers' abilities and train them accordingly.
  • Show volunteers that will be assisting with taking donations where things belong, including a quick tour of the building to show them monitor testing, evaluation, and printerland incoming.
  • Teach speaker, mice and keyboard testing, and answer related questions.

Throughout shift:

  • Assist donors in unloading donations. Be available to answer questions donors have that volunteers may not have the answers to.
  • Assist volunteers in sorting smaller things, as well as dealing with larger hardware.
  • Empty boxes on shelves as necessary, as well as the cardboard and paper.
    • Are things slow?
      • Tie up cords
      • Make sure all plastic bins have appropriate plastics in them
      • Go through boxes to make sure they have the appropriate things in them
      • Show someone how to do keyboard/mouse/speaker testing
      • Sweep floor
      • Purge room of dirty dishes

At closing:

  • Empty boxes as necessary.
  • Empty laptop lock box.
  • Empty cell phone/camera lock box
  • Turn off lights and shutdown testing computer and stereo system.
  • Thursday night = take out paper recycling
  • Leave a visible note indicating that any hardware leftover on the table, floor, or carts is not a dump.
  • Put the anti-dumping sandwich board out.

Other notes:

  • Thursdays and Saturdays are adoption classes; do your best to have enough materials ready (i.e. 8 speaker sets, a combination of white and black keyboards, and a combination of black and white mice).