What Happens to Your Goodwill Donations?

By: Deneige Broom Email
By: Deneige Broom Email

When people are in the giving spirit , or are just cleaning out their closets, many chose to donate to Goodwill. But what actually happens with all of those donations that pour in?

The Goodwill warehouse on Mabry Street in Tallahassee stays stocked with donations.

But only about 50 percent of what people give away makes it to the store.

"The 50 percent that we don't put in the stores have tears or they're soiled or maybe just so out of style that nobody would want them," Fred Shelfer, Goodwill's President and CEO.

Goodwill then sells the fabric as salvage on an international rag market.
About 10 million pounds of clothes are shipped out each year and Goodwill in return gets 15 cents for every pound.

The 50 percent that does make it to the show room floor gets priced and is ready to go.

Shelfer says most items are priced at 50 percent of their retail value or a flat unit price for clothing.
But even then, two thirds of the items still aren't sold.

After three weeks in the main store, they make their way to the "Good Cents Store" in another part of the warehouse.

There shoppers can sift through the items and pay a flat rate for every pound.

When those things are left, Shelfer says donations still aren't thrown away.

"We sell everything. It's either sold in the store or it's salvaged. Which means it's sold to someone but it may be to South America or Africa when it gets to the final user.

The non-profit says the income from donations pays for the wages and services they provide.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by susan Location: West Monroe, La on Jun 8, 2012 at 07:31 PM
    Prices are ridiculous here. They price everything at $3.99 and up, whether the item is stained or torn up. I have seen some t shirts up towards $20.00. Used Bras and intimates $4.00 and up. Goodwill is nothing but a Greed for Profit organization.
  • by debbie Location: quincy on Jan 11, 2011 at 11:28 AM
    you find more in the dumpster behind goodwill than you find in the store. some stuff has never been taken out of the bags they were brought up there in.
  • by Finances on Jan 5, 2011 at 12:38 PM
    Yaya - You can see their fiancial documents online, required by law. The CEO of Goodwill is blind, has an industrial engineering degree from Purdue and an MBA from Harvard. http://www.goodwill.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Goodwill_Annual_Report.pdf ............... http://www.goodwill.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/GII_Audited_Financial_2009.pdf ................... http://www.goodwill.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/GII_990T_2009.pdf
  • by Anonymous on Jan 5, 2011 at 12:28 PM
    Goodwill Industries is supposed to provide jobs for those who are disadvantaged, disabled, lack education or experience; that was the purpose. The donation of goods and expecting them to go to 'needy' people was never the intention. If that was the intention then there would be pre-requisites in order to shop there. If you want to give items to people for end-user use, then give to the Salvation Army or United Way. Goodwill was created for the intentions listed below, not to provide cheap goods to low income people...that is something that should be a by-product. Now, if the prices are too high as many mention then they are poorly operated and it will hamper their ability to sell and thus fund their training opportunities.
  • by Zoe Location: Thomasville on Jan 5, 2011 at 11:18 AM
    Our Goodwill in Thomasville is much better with it's pricing than the Bradfordville store.I was shocked when I went in there soon after they opened. Worn boots that clearly had been worn several times were 39.00. I can go right now to a dept store and by brand new ones for that. By having the prices so high they knock out 2 types of shoppers. Those that really need a bargain because they can't afford it otherwise and those just looking for a bargain.
  • by unknown Location: quincy on Jan 4, 2011 at 06:48 PM
    I have also donated clothes,pot/pans, bathroom items and seen them placed out for a few dollars less thats why now I have my own things set up in the yard and anybody that feels they need something there is no charge juat come and get it. Thats the way we become bless when we look out for others rather than ourselves. I don't like going to goodwills anymore because they want all there money down to the penny and what have they given back to the communiteis or even churches? If the clothes were given why not give them to somebody that coems to the store and needs them. Thats why I thank God for Christtown ministries because if you need they will find a way to help!
  • by Sunshine Location: Tallahassee on Jan 4, 2011 at 06:11 PM
    Amazing so many negative comments about an organization that is suppose to be benevolent; wake up and smell the roses -- we should help put them out of business -- I quit donating to them years ago when they changed to a Profit Corporation. They should lose their tax exemption for donating to them too. I went with a friend just last week -- and a plastic car that I can buy at ToysRUs for $20 was marked $64.99 -- give it up -- these items are donated to you -- help out and sell at a reasonable price -- you might sell it all rather than just a portion of your merchandise.
  • by Rice Paty Location: Tallahassee on Jan 4, 2011 at 02:09 PM
    Seldom have I read unanimous negative comments regarding an organisation. My opinion is Mr Selfer is enriching himself and his family at the expense of Goodwill's stated Mission. I challenge him to disclose his net worth for the past 10 years. Donate items to Light House, Habitat, The Shelter, Salvation Army. They are honest and worthy.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:30 PM in reply to Rice Paty
      Amen, amen, amen!
  • by Tallahassee Mom on Jan 4, 2011 at 12:54 PM
    I agree with Dub Smith Jan 3, 2011 at 06:39 PM on all counts. The prices are way high for what you get, these are used clothes, yard sale quality. ALSO....the people that work in the Apalachee Pkwy store are rude, rude, rude. If they are doing community service for a crime they should be picking up trash on hwy 27 or cleaning up roadkill on I-10. No sympathy for the lawless here.
  • by Tom Location: Tallahassee on Jan 4, 2011 at 08:51 AM
    in the pass, I have given items to Goodwill to find them on the sales floor and almost the same price I paid for them retail. There needs to be a reform on their pratice of how they price donations. Until then please give your donations to areas that are there to help.
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