Laptop donations may sound too good to be true, but there are ways to get these portable computers for free or cheap, if you have persistence and a little luck. Try all methods to get a laptop, and repeat your efforts until they pay off. If you're willing to accept machines that are a couple years old or refurnished machines, you'll have a better shot at getting a free computer than if you try holding out for a current model.
Look for technology reuse or refurbish non-profits near you, then call to see whether they refurbish laptops and how to get on the list. Empower Up (empowerupnow.org) rebuilds computers, then donates the rebuilt machines to Clark County, Washington residents, for example.
Search Recycles.org for donation offerings near you, or request a laptop donation. Respond to nearby laptop donations to get a free computer. If you request a donation, someone looking to recycle a working laptop may see your request and respond. Negotiate the transaction from there.
Apply for a laptop through the Computer Recycling Center (crc.org). Foster youth, elders, teachers, non-profits and others may apply for a free laptop. Call for more info, or write a letter requesting the specific information you want and why you or your group would benefit to get a free computer.
Find out whether your town has electronic waste recycling for computers and, if so, what happens to equipment brought there. You may be able to get a working laptop or laptop parts when someone recycles their old machine.
Look for contests, sweepstakes, raffles and other giveaways that have laptop prizes. Enter for a chance to win a donated computer.