Ever wonder what your Goodwill donation does?

by Kristen on June 30, 2010 · 18 comments

in Goodwill

I know I never post on Wednesday evenings, but I just got an email letting me know that Goodwill has launched a new site with a neat calculator that shows you just what your old jeans and t-shirts can accomplish in your community. They’re doing this to help encourage people to donate their items to Goodwill instead of throwing them away.

Now, I’m sure that most of my dear readers are faithful thrift shop donators, but this is not the case with the population at large.

In an article on Huffington Post, Goodwill CEO Jim Gibbons says,

It might sound surprising that we need to have initiatives like this, but seven out of 10 consumers admit that sometimes, they choose not to donate and simply discard their items. Not only that, but for every one article of clothing donated, people have at least 30 more articles of clothing that are ready to be donated.

So, people are keeping clutter around and are sometimes throwing stuff away when they do declutter.

Dear me. While I’m certainly of the opinion that some things really do need to be thrown away, I firmly believe that usable items should be donated instead. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and so your clutter could be just what someone else wanted or needed. This is earth-friendly in two ways…your old items don’t end up in the landfill, and the new owner of the item doesn’t have to buy a newly-manufactured item encased in plastic packaging!

Donating to Goodwill is super easy…honestly, it’s only a small bit harder than throwing something away, and when you donate, your items will be used by someone else and they’ll also support people in your community that need help.

Of course, Goodwill is not the only responsible repository for your used items…I sometimes sell things at consignment shops and I frequently offer things on Freecycle when I declutter (I particularly love the way Freecycle ensures that my items go straight to someone who needs/wants them).

But if you’re looking for a super-simple way to get rid of your stuff, Goodwill is the way to go…just bag your stuff up and drop it off.

And of course, you can also support Goodwill’s mission by shopping in their stores. I used to be unconvinced, but there’s great stuff to be had at Goodwill if you’re willing to look for it.

Anyhow…go try out the calculator and see what your “junk” can accomplish for people in your community. It just might motivate you to drop your clutter at Goodwill instead of in the trash can.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly B June 30, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I think it will be really cool seeing where your donations go. My husband and I try to go through our clothes every time we buy something and see what we can donate. I am a faithful Goodwill shopper too. I have picked up some incredible items there.

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2 Condo Blues June 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Another thing people forget is that you can take your donation off of your taxes as a charitable donation (check the IRS rules to be sure what you need to do to get proper documentation because they can change from one year to the next.) That’s not the main reason I donate to Goodwill or any other charity but it is a nice thank you perk.

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3 Rebecca June 30, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I esp love that Goodwill helps members of our society that may not otherwise be getting the help they need, like the near/homeless, recovering addicts, those with mental/ psychological problems and the disabled. Your donation helps bring in money, as does your shopping. And if you are going to shop, bring a bag along to donate at the same time.

Other second hand orgs like St Vincent de Paul and Easter Seals will often pick up items if you have a significant amt, and you call and schedule a pick up time.

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4 Claudia Phillips April 21, 2014 at 7:11 pm

No, Goodwill is not the benevolent organization you think it is. Read my post and donate to organizations that truly help the needy and the community.

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5 Stacy June 30, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Very cool. And did you catch the amount of stuff diverted from landfills? Almost one billion pounds! Just since January 1, 2010. I’m absolutely amazed.

Stacy

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6 erin July 1, 2010 at 12:16 am

I normally do freecycle, but I have a few boxes full of all random stuff, so I’m thinking a trip to goodwill is in order after reading this. :-)

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7 Raffy July 1, 2010 at 5:42 am

I can’t believe people throw away stuff so easily. In Italy we don’t have consignment shops, but Red Cross bins can be found on every street so it’s very easy to donate stuff. Old clothes and textiles are reused or recycled. I’d like to know how many people here donate to the RC.

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8 Raffy July 1, 2010 at 5:44 am

PS So envious of your weather! Here it’s 88F and very humid, sometimes I really feel unwell. I hate summer…

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9 angie July 1, 2010 at 8:03 am

this is so super! shared and thanks for posting! BIG time thrifter/donater here!!!

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10 WilliamB July 1, 2010 at 8:46 am

For most people the hard part is probably getting started. Now that I know where the donation location is, their hours and their procedures, it’s easy for me. But it took several years to get to this position and I still have no good place to dispose of bulky items.

You’d think it’d be easy to find locations and hours; in my area at least, it is not. The local Goodwill’s online site isn’t well designed, it takes extra work to find the exact locations, the hours are incorrect, and the after hours phone message says only to please call back rather than containing answers to common questions such as address and operating hours. (The last particularly bothers me since it’d be so easy to fix.) Further, my local Goodwill and Salvation Army are notoriously bad with pickups: limited availability, not always pleasant on the phone, and – worst of all – very wide pickup times (“We’ll be there sometime between 10 am and 5 pm” as if I had nothing better to do with my weekday than be tied at home waiting for them) that they miss anyway.

When I moved from one city to another I donated much of my apartment furnishings: 5 garbage bags of suits (who, me, packrat?), sofa, loveseat, rear projection TV (secondhand already), desk, desk chair, 2 side tables, 2-3 Ikea dressers. Neither Goodwill nor Salvation Army would pick up on a schedule I could work with and I was working only part time at that point. Sheesh. Bemoaning this to a neighbor yielded a nonprofit I’d never heard of, who picked up my stuff and vacuumed afterward.

All told, I can see why people find it easier to throw stuff out. It certainly would have been for me.

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11 Rachel July 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm

What a great blog post – I’m really intrigued by the idea of “calculating your impact.” Thanks, Kristen!

The Goodwill site and the comments to your blog post reminded me a lot of a project that I worked on last year with a coworker – a online directory of how to properly dispose of your various wastes or things you do not need… the information is specific to New Hampshire, but may provide some inspiration to people in other parts of the country. The URL is:
http://sites.google.com/site/sullivancountymsw/home/what-do-i-do-with

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12 DJ June 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Never Donate to this fraudulent Company. Please, for the sake of goodness donate to a church or salvation army. this company makes millions off your willingness to help people. they sell your clothes by the pound to foreign people.

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13 Claudia Phillips April 21, 2014 at 7:13 pm

So true. Read my post.

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14 geno September 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm

did not answer the cuestion…where the money goes?

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15 Claudia Phillips December 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Don’t give to Goodwill! Execs make 6 figure salaries, but they pay workers LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE. How do they do that? A 1938 law called the Special Wage Certificate Program allows them to pay handicapped workers according the their abilities with no minimum. They have non-profit status with the IRS, but are they really doing any good? I don’t think so. Since I found out about this, I’ve been donating my goods to a local thrift shop.

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16 Mike Wallace April 17, 2014 at 10:06 am

Goodwill is a company that takes donations and uses it for corporate greed. They don’t make a profit because the EXECS make six figure salaries while they pay handicapped people pennies on the dollar. Goodwill makes me sick and I would rather throw something out than give it to these crooks.

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17 Claudia Phillips April 21, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Goodwill has made it so easy to donate to them. Do you know why? They are a successful FOR PROFIT company and their top executives get VERY large salaries. In some states they use very old laws that actually permit them to pay handicapped employees less than minimum wage. Think about this: Goodwill gets all their inventory for FREE and sells it for a profit. They are not helping the needy so much as helping themselves. Now I donate all my things to a small local thrift store that will give items for free if they come across a truly needy family.

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18 Marjorie Soural July 20, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I would like to start by saying that not all of the stores are as bad as the one I encountered today July 20, 2014. My husband and I were donating some furniture at out local Goodwill thinking it was a responsible decision on our parts. While unloading a woman ask us if she could have a chair we had not yet taken off of our trailer and we were more than happy to give it to her. Unfortunately the people of Goodwill were vehement about it being their property after my husband loaded it on the ladies truck. Not really sure of what to think or how to respond I got back into my car feeling very sorry for the woman and wondering how exactly does a situation like this get explained to those of us who are thinking we are helping others out while the people in this store were only thinking about their profits? I have resigned myself to the facts that when and if I ever have things to donate again, I will certainly not be dropping them off at my local Goodwill.

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