Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Goodwill Donations: EASY, Tax Credit, & Supporting Your Community

I spend so much of every day thinking of ways to help others - and actually following through.  It is hard for me think back to the days that I tossed out so many things that could have benefited others!

Goodwill is an organization that is so simple to help!  For years I heard about the tax benefits of donating to Goodwill but I really had no clue how to donate.  Plus, I figured most of my "hand me downs" wouldn't be valuable to others.  I was wrong!  Here's my journey - and my hope that you too will start donating!

I mentioned that I had heard from others about the tax benefits of donating to Goodwill.  That was pretty much all I knew about the organization until 2009.  During the spring of 2009 Disney parks was offering a free one day admission to a park if you donated a day of your time to community service.  We were planning to go to Disneyland that spring and the savings for donating our time was huge!  Goodwill was one of the organizations that Disney was working with so I signed up for the Younkers Goodwill Days.



The experience I had sitting at a table, taking donations in-trade for store coupons and tax receipts, was eye opening.  First of all, I was paired with a very friendly Goodwill staff member.  During slow times she told me so much about Goodwill that I would have never guessed!  I will explain this more later in this post as my daughters Girl Scout troop just went on a tour where we saw first hand how donations are handled.


A newly remodeled store in my area.

The donation drop off is usually in the back or the side of the building.
If you can't locate the donation drop-off you can get direction from a clerk in the store.
I had to ask for help the first time I donated as the area was not as visible at the time.

Just drop off your items (clothing, books, furniture, toys, electronics, ...) and grab your tax receipt.
It's as simple as that!
What happens with that donation??  Well, at a store like the one pictured, they price most of the items and put them out for sale.  Some items will be sent to the distribution center (especially those that don't sell quickly) so they can be evaluated for other potential profit.  This could be sending it to another store (especially for clothing so people do not recognize that someone has purchased something the donor once owned), posting it for sale on eBay, posting it on Shopgoodwill.com, selling it in bulk, or recycling it.  

Books:  Goodwill once sold books in stores for super cheap.  They realized that repeat customers were coming in regularly to buy books.  What they found was that these customers were buying the books for pennies and then selling them on eBay for a profit!  Now, Goodwill posts many of the donated books on eBay, Amazon, and other partnered sites so the organization benefits from the profit.

This outlet center sells unsold items by the pound.  These are mostly clothes that have been on the shelf for too long.
You can dig through the bins to buy items for pennies on the dollar!
I do not have a picture of the outlet center but this is the rotation they follow for the items sold.

If the clothes go through all rotations and still have not sold...  Trash - right?
No!
Goodwill has found a way to make money off just about everything they would have tossed in past years!

Clothing is compressed into large cubes and then sold.  I'm not sure what use a
company would have for these but they do pay for it so it's turned into money that benefits Goodwill.

They were VERY low on donations at the time of our tour in March 2014!
This is the area of the center where there would normally be large boxes piled high of items to go out to stores in the district.

EVERYTHING is recycled!  They no longer have big trash bins!
This is paper and cardboard items waiting for a buyer to pick them up.

More odd items that some company is will to pay for.
Our tour guide told us that they even have a buyer for the rubber soles on shoes.
They are turned into rubber padding/bark for playgrounds!
So, even your unmatched or super ragged shoes have a place - and a profit!

Shopgoodwill.com is a great way to find out about larger items for sale (like furniture, bikes, ....).  This site allows you to bid on them.  The main difference from eBay is that you pick these items up at the center (versus shipping).

What is Goodwill's purpose?  They provide training, job assistance and so much more!  You can read all about it on their website.  They do get some government funding but, as I'm sure anyone familiar with this knows, it is never guaranteed and there is usually a lot of red tape to work through.  So, having other ways to fund programs allows Goodwill to continue their mission and to provide opportunities to people that don't always qualify for normal assistance.

So, donate!!!  It's great for you and for so many others!


1 comment:

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