Awareness Key to Ensuring Donations Have Lasting Impact

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Goodwill® Urges Donors to Give to Legitimate Charities

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Taking the extra time to ensure your donation goes to the right cause can make a difference to families in your own community.

The well-known phrase ‘let the buyer beware’ is great advice for consumers, but donors to charitable organizations should heed the same message this holiday season. The end of the year is a busy time for donations of clothing and household items, yet some of the groups accepting donations operate as for-profit companies, with little or none of the proceeds going to legitimate charities.

Goodwill® urges individuals to do their research before deciding to which organizations they will donate. First, donors should check with the state attorney general or secretary of state’s office to find out if a charity is legitimate. Second, they should check with a charity-rating agency such as Charity Navigator or GuideStar, or use online resources such as GreatNonprofits or Philanthropedia to find out more about specific charities — including how much of their revenue goes to overhead and administrative costs.

“At this time of year, it’s natural to drop unwanted items at the nearest collection bin, but the true value of those donations may not be realized,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Taking the extra time to ensure your donation goes to the right cause can make a difference to families in your own community.”

Consumers should be cautious of donation bins that don’t clearly state the mission and contact information for the organization. More and more states nationwide are now requiring that unattended bins be clearly marked, but it is important for people to make informed choices about their donations.

“Some for-profit entities and fraudulent charities can deliberately mislead donors by using slightly changed names of established groups,” said Gibbons. “Community-focused organizations like Goodwill have spent decades building the public’s trust and can readily inform consumers of the real value of their donations.”

Donations to Goodwill are sold in local stores and online. The revenues then fund job training programs and support services that help people with workplace challenges and disabilities to achieve and maintain economic independence and an increased quality of life. In 2010, more than 2.4 million people benefited from Goodwill’s career services. By giving to Goodwill, donors are playing a vital role in helping people go to work.

For more information about donations or to learn more about Goodwill programs and services, visit

Charlene Sarmiento
Media Relations Specialist
Goodwill Industries International

Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based, independent agencies in the United States and Canada with 14 affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of the nation’s top five most valuable and recognized nonprofit brands as well as a leading social services enterprise (Source: Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100, 2009). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,600 stores and online at Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation and document imaging and shredding. In 2010, more than 2.4 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 84 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services. To find your local Goodwill, use the online locator at or call (800) GOODWILL. Facebook: GoodwillIntl Twitter: @GoodwillIntl


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Charlene Sarmiento
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