Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Goodwill Really Is Good

Most people think of Goodwill as that place we take our old stuff when we don't want it anymore. Last week, Ellen Thornhill, Goodwill of Central Virginia's Communications Manager, gave a presentation entitled "Goodwill: I Had No Idea!" at NAPO Richmond's chapter meeting. We toured Goodwill's Midlothian facility this past Monday to see it all in action.

The presentation's title was fitting - I really had no idea about all of the awesome things Goodwill is doing for our community and the environment. Read below for my top three "I had no idea" facts.

I had no idea fact #1 - Goodwill's primary role and mission is as a workforce development organization, not a thrift store, that helps people with disadvantages and/or disabilities obtain employment. Their retail centers (stocked with your donations) serve as revenue to support these programs. What's more, you can feel good about helping your local community by donating to Goodwill. While it's a nationwide franchise, nearly 100% of the local revenue goes back into local programs - not into a national pot. Learn more about their workforce development services here.

I had no idea fact #2 - Goodwill can resell or recycle a lot more than you think. They package stained or torn clothing and resell it to textile salvage companies. Your old cell phones, computers and other electronics (even the broken ones!) can be refurbished by skilled staff and resold or responsibly recycled through Goodwill's Reconnect partnership with Dell. Medical equipment is sold through their partnership with the Free Foundation. Instead of tossing it, donate it! You'll be helping your local community and the environment. Click here for an official list of what you can and cannot donate at Goodwill.

I had no idea fact #3 - In addition to revenue from their retail sales, Goodwill raises money for their workforce development programs through their Business Enterprise services, which includes Goodwill Staffing Solutions and Goodwill Document Destruction (shredding). Businesses can request a quote from Goodwill Document Destruction through Goodwill’s website. Individuals can simply bring their documents to Goodwill’s main facility where for $30, you can get up to 180 lbs of paper shredded (for anything above 180 lbs, it’s only $0.18/lb). Last year, Goodwill recycled over a million pounds of paper through its Document Destruction business and plans to do even more this year.

Every paper grocery bag of donations averages about $27 of revenue for Goodwill. If you were on the fence about spring cleaning, hopefully this post has provided new motivation to let go and give back to the community. Find a Goodwill donation center near you here.

Kristen Ziegler


missemilyjones said...

Excellent info KZ!

Its great to know that broken appliances and electronics have a destination other than the landfill! I always have such guilt when I have to toss them. But now that I know about Goodwill's refurbishment program and their other connections, it takes the guesswork and guilt out of sending broken items along for a second life.

Anonymous said...

Yep - Goodwill is a great "one stop shop" for your donations that you can really feel good about!

Todd said...

I am a Goodwill success story-was on disability from my tv news anchor job due to 8 brain surgeries-was referred by the Dept of Voc Rehab........met with a job counselor and said I was interested in PR. They had me volunteer for a while-I ended up getting hired. I decided I wanted to transfer depts after a few years and they found a job for me at Its been such a great experience.

Anonymous said...

Todd - thanks so much for sharing your story! What a great example of the good things that Goodwill does for our local community - so glad they were able to help you reach your goals.

aims said...

I definitely didn't know about the textile salvage thing. I always feel bad donating crappy stuff. If I wouldn't wear it, why would I expect a thrift store to sell it? I guess there are more options for "junk" than I realized. Its definitely a donation destination.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! It's a huge incentive for my organizing clients to let go of things when they know they won't end up in the landfill.