Donaldson, 21, the son of former Gateshead striker Ian Donaldson, made two appearances for Newcastle and was a regular on the Magpies substitutes` bench.
The Newcastle-born player made his full debut in a League Cup tie at Peterborough United and played again in another televised League Cup at Accrington Stanley the following season.
In 2011 Donaldson played a dozen games on loan at npower League One club Hartlepool United during a two-month loan spell at Victoria Park.
The former England Youth international later had a brief loan period at Tranmere Rovers before he was released by Newcastle at the end of last season.
He has played for both Carlisle United and St.Johnstone in pre-season but is now back on his native Tyneside.
Gateshead manager Ian Bogie: "Donaldson is a player I have been aware of for some time.
"He has played against us on a number of occasions and is a good player.
"Like many of the players we have at the club he can play in more than one position which is always beneficial.
"He spent a lot of years at Newcastle, where he came through the ranks, and I am confident he will be a good acquisition."