Goodwill or Salvation Army??

jkayd_il5October 11, 2010

If you had a choice of taking your donations of clothes, kitchen dishes, other miscellanous items, etc. to either Goodwill or Salvation Army which would you choose and why? I have what I feel in a lot of good things. Of course we always think our things are good but I would really like to give to the place that does the most for the poor or needy. The closest Salvation Army is about 25 miles away and Goodwill is 40 miles but I would be willing to go the extra miles if it's the best place. I have donated to both in the past but don't have a favorite. Thanks. Judy

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lowspark

I don't have a favorite either. My philosophy when I'm giving stuff away like that is, I just want it out of the house!! So, mostly, I used to give it to whichever organization called me when I had a pile of stuff. They would come pick it up at my doorstep which was very convenient.

But we disconnected our land line and so they don't call anymore. Salvation Army used to be the closest donation spot (about 3 miles away) so that's where we'd drop our stuff. Recently, however, Goodwill opened a store and donation center about .5 miles from my house. So now they get all my stuff.

I'll be interested to see if anyone feels one organization is better than the other, because I always went on the theory that they're all about the same.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 4:44PM
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mary_c_gw

Simple for me - Goodwill has a shop (they only sell books and movies, but will take all donations) next to the grocery store I use the most.

Um, I should amend that. They will take anything that doesn't require a "two-man lift". But most of my stuff is clothing, books, kitchen stuff. And the Goodwill that has "two good men", LOL, is only about 5 miles farther.

The Salvation Army won't come to my house even for a substantial furniture donation - and, no, it's not crap, LOL. They just consider me to far out from their stores.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 9:56PM
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fbarboza82

I don't have a preference, really. I normally just go to the Goodwill because it is on my way to work.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 6:38AM
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western_pa_luann

Neither for me... I use my local YWCA Thrift Shop.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 9:37AM
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adellabedella_usa

I prefer other thrift stores because they usually throw away less than Goodwill and Salvation Army. Other thrift stores are often less expensive.

Between the two, I would probably donate to the Salvation Army first because IMO they help more people who need the help.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 10:35AM
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jannie

I've had "trouble" with both Sal army and Goodwill. they both will send a truck but they put "rules" on it. Must donate at least 3 big items, driver has right to refuse anything, will take only good solid furniture, nothing with fabric or wicker, and nothing electric. The last time I donated, they refused all my lamps and a good working sewing machine. I'd rather list on Craigslist. There are plenty of people who will take anything, as long as it's for free!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 12:07PM
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des_arc_ya_ya

Small town here, so we don't have either. I take things to two stores that support the Sheltered Workshop program - a daycare/employment/school for developmentally disabled adults and children.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 2:29PM
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peegee

I was recently very disappointed by Salvation Army and will never donate there again. I brought to them some really nice items, and when I asked for a receipt was told I had to go inside the store to the counter, instead of being handed a receipt as in the past. Inside, a notebook was placed in front of me and I was told to fill out paperwork, with my personal information required. Other people's personal information was clearly visible to me. I was not about to fill out the forms, and so had to leave without a tax receipt as they refused to provide one without my info. They said the law required this now. Additionally required was an itemized list of what was dropped off - which should have been made clear in advance. (I had bags of things I had put together over weeks and certainly could not remember most of it, and they had already taken it all) When I got home I called Goodwill and they informed me that they do not ask for donator's personal info.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 10:33PM
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joann23456

I donate clothes to one of those big yellow bins. I think it might be Planet Aid. Really, the only reason I go there is that it's three blocks from my house.

Everything else goes on Craigslist for free. I list individually, with pictures, and everything but one food scale has been taken within a couple days, usually within a couple hours.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 11:56PM
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bluegreen09

Might do some research of the name on the donation boxes when making donations.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 4:37PM
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mustangs81

Periodically I go to Goodwill, SA, and Community Thrift Store to find odd kitchen gadgets (where people don't know what they are) and I have been saddened by the lines out the door waiting to check out at all of these places. I have never seen crowds like this--so either way it's a good option with so many families in need.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 5:39PM
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kathyg_in_mi

I do Salvation Army. When we were kids in the '50's, my mom was a widow and the SA sent me and my brother to a summer camp at no cost to my mother, for 2 weeks each summer. We got baskets at Xmas and Thanksgiving too.
Also, I have never complained about paying Social Security taxes, as that was the only income my mom had back then.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 10:56PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Aren't there organizations that will come to your house and take your stuff rather than driving 25+ miles?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 6:35AM
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Cassandra

My favorite is St. Vincent de Paul society, called St. Vinnie's around here. They used to come pick things up, but I don't know if they still do.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 7:10PM
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jenswrens

Question: If you donate clothes to one of these places, do you clean them first? IOW, if they receive an item that's not clean, will they clean it and still use it or do they throw it out?

For example, I have a wool blazer I'd like to donate but it is currently covered in cat hair. Can I give it like this or should I have it dry-cleaned first so that it doesn't just go in the trash once donated?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 2:10PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Clothes should be clean and in good repair (ie.not tattered, buttons missing, zippers broken...) - Goodwill, etc. does not wash or dry clean. Your blazer would go directly into the dumpster.

Surely you could at least clean off the cat hair - like I would assume you do to your rugs and furniture. Would you donate dishes with food still crusted on them?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 2:39PM
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rjvt

I would clean off the cat hair with a lint roller and donate it. When I buy things used, I wash them before using them anyways.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 3:23PM
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cindy_lou_who

Earlier this year I went to the Goodwill looking for blankets for the dog crates. There were none on the shelves and when I asked they said they had some but they needed to be treated for lice before they could be sold. I'm not sure what their treatment involves, but she said they treat all blankets that come in.

As far as donating to either one, I think I'd go for St. Vincent De Paul also. Too many times I've seen Goodwill workers throwing donated items around and donation boxes left for weeks without being emptied. Items are left out in the rain and snow. Also, I knew a woman who worked in a Goodwill store and it was common practice to set aside and markdown all the items the employees like. She'd bring home bags upon bags of clothing she'd paid a quarter for.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 8:13PM
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donnawb

I have been giving my stuff away on freecycle. My Goodwill charges $35 if you want furniture or any thing picked up. Mine is expensive and don't understand why when they get it for free.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:38PM
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jenswrens

Surely you could at least clean off the cat hair - like I would assume you do to your rugs and furniture.

So you want me to vacuum my blazer? haha. I did actually think about it, but could only imagine what my Dyson would have done to it - sucked the threads out surely. Well, you answered my question anyway - I will send it out to the dry cleaners and then donate it. Thanks. And I asked because it's not as easy as putting a dish in the dishwasher - there was no need for your snotty rude comment.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 9:41AM
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jenswrens

and FWIW, I DO wash all machine washable clothes before giving them away...

It was a general question about how these companies handle clothing donations. Too bad it made me look like a hoarder wading daily through mile-high piles of cat feces and clothing to you. Thanks again. Geez.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 9:46AM
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duluthinbloomz4

I'm sorry you were offended and found my reply snotty and rude. I was just a bit surprised that cat hair on a blazer was even a question that a little work with a roll of something sticky - like duct tape - wouldn't solve.

All things being equal, I could be offended with your presumption of knowing WHAT I might have been thinking.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 11:52AM
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susanka

Those of you who don't want to donate to a charity that may have a lot of overhead or "retails" things might find a local charity that would be to your liking and which doesn't pay its officers. Sometimes their work mentioned in the local papers. I know, I'm the prez of a 100% volunteer local charity. Good luck finding the right place for your generous impulses! I'm often amazed at how helpful people are.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 9:47PM
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trancegemini_wa

I think susanka brings up a good point, I've now come to the thinking that the larger more obvious charities get so much stuff donated that Im guessing a lot gets tossed or wasted so I'm focussing more on smaller charities that dont get a lot of exposure but it's meant that I've had to hunt to find them, internet searches, local papers etc.

Im starting to realise there are a lot of smaller charities who dont get much of a look in and many are run by hardworking volunteers at a real grass roots level but most of them have annual fetes and swap meets where they sell the donated goods to raise funds, or they might be looking for specific items that they need or use a lot of. It's not necessarily as convenient but that's where Im focussing my donate-ables now and it's not expensive to post things within the same city if it's not convenient to drive there.

The up side for me is I'm finding it easier now donating things I would have kept because I really feel they are going somewhere they will be used and really appreciated instead of one of the mega charities who already get so much in the way of donations, and when you talk to people at these smaller charities they are so so grateful for anything you give them that it's just amazing.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 1:27PM
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idrive65

After my mother's tag sale a few weeks ago, the Salvation Army truck pulled up as scheduled and we donated pretty much everything that didn't sell. Sure we could have craigslisted or freecycled, but we just wanted the stuff GONE. The guys didn't bat an eye at our donations, although frankly we tossed out anything remotely unsellable weeks earlier. As we packed up after the tag sale we kept a running list of each box's estimated value for our own records. The receipt listed all the big items, plus X number of boxes. You get to fill in the value yourself.

I had never heard that SA was anti-gay before today. That sucks.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 11:17AM
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quandary

Many people don't realize that the Salvation Army is actually a religion -- not that there's anything wrong with that...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 9:42PM
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western_pa_luann

Seriously?
I would think that most people know that they are a Christian church!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 10:33PM
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idrive65

I can't speak for "most people" but there a quite a LOT of people who only know of SA as a community charity organization, like Goodwill. They ring bells at Christmas, they take your junk, they sell it. The religious side is nearly invisible where I live.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 8:37AM
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TACHE

I don't like to donate Goodwill because they pay their officers Enron type salaries. The Salvation Army really does have some very useful social services that I like to support. Books go to the library for their book sale which is a very big deal here.Clothes and stuff go to a local shop that concentrates on outfitting kids for school and is totally volunteer. Functioning appliances go to the local homeless shelter. I didn't know that SA was publicly anti-gay. That does make a difference. Many of these charities are religious. If their work is good and useful and not harmful it doesn't matter.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 3:23PM
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heather_on

I donate to the Big Brothers/Sisters Nearly New Store. My mom volunteered there for about 40 years and a group of ladies get together every morning to repair clothes that come in. They add the buttons, take home clothes to wash and try and recover every article that is worthwhile. If articles of clothing are so bad that they can't be recovered, then they remove the buttons for other uses. Only the manager of the store gets a small salary. The rest are volunteers.

They also give to families in need and don't charge an arm and a leg for articles like Goodwill does. An example, paper back books mostly were 5-10 cents. If a family has nothing, Project Share (another food organization in our city) refers them to this store where they are given the essentials they need to live.

I have nothing but praise for this store.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 12:35PM
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trancegemini_wa

That sounds like a great charity heather. I'll bet lots of clothes just get tossed at the bigger charities because they need small repairs like buttons etc

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 2:15AM
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buehl

This struck a cord as I was skimming the list after linking to this Forum back on Kitchens...

Most "charities" that call you on the phone or advertise on TV are, in fact not really charities, or at least they don't donate very much to charities. The majority of them are fronts for for-profit thrift shops. Several years ago, a local television station (ch 4, maybe) here in the Washington DC area, did an expose on charities and concluded that only 3 were true charities...Salvation Army, Goodwill, and I forget now the third. Consequently, I either donate to one of them OR directly to a local charity such as a shelter or food bank OR our church (we do "extreme makeover" projects a couple of times a year as well as smaller jobs for those in need all year so just about everything is needed throughout the year.)

As to receipts...I don't know what happened to peegee at her local SA, but at ours, they just record the # of bags/boxes you donate and then give you a blank piece of paper for you to fill in the value.

One thing to remember about Goodwill...they provide jobs for the handicapped, etc. and so have salaries to pay that SA and others don't. So I would expect things to be a little more expensive...but not a whole lot. I haven't been to one of their stores in a few years (none near us), so it may have changed.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 8:50PM
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mommabird

I donate to SA, Goodwill and Volunteers of America. Mostly VOA because it's only about 3 miles from my house. A worker at Goodwill told me once that any clothes they can't sell are sold in bulk to a rag recycler.

The recycler pays them by the pound, and the clothes are shreded and fibers re-used. The worker told me even if something is worn or stained, to go ahead and donate it so they can sell it to the recycler. I don't know if SA and VOA do the same, so I save really badly worn clothes in a separate bag and mark it "badly worn," then drop it off at Goodwill. That way I know it's not going into the trash.

I didn't know SA is anti-gay. I guess they're now off my donation route!

VOA gives homeless and poor people vouchers so they can "shop" at their thrift store for free. I have a friend whose 19 year old son is high-functioning developmentaly disabled, and he also works at VOA. VOA has a work program with the local high school for high functioning DD kids, so they can have a job when they come out of high school. They train the kids to sort the donations and stock the racks and shelves. They even teach the kids how to take the bus to work, how to pack their lunch, etc. It's a really great program and my friend has only praise for it.

I don't know if Volunteers of America is a local or national charity, but if there is a VOA thrift store in your area, I would encourage you to donate there along with SA and GW.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 9:45AM
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rafor

We moved across country recently. The Goodwill donation station (which is all it was, had originally been a gas station) near our old house was the largest donation center west of the Rockies. They would take anything you gave them. We moved to New England and I took a truckload of stuff to Salvation Army. They wouldn't take the file cabinet because it had a very small dent on the side which did not affect the use. They wouldn't take the 2 chairs because they had old fashion fabric on them ( very easy to recover as I had done that a few times). They had an excuse for not taking anything in the truck. It was free and even if they had sold it for $10, that's $10 more than they had before. So I put everything out on the sidewalk in front of our house and it was gone in 10 minutes! A week or 2 later I went to shop for garden junk at the local SA and Goodwill stores. They had only junk in them! And yet my donations weren't good enough? What the heck? The stores in OR always had a lot of good stuff in them and were reasonably priced. Junky stuff in New England and higher prices. Doesn't quite make sense to me! And please, don't get me started on pulling up to the store and having to go find someone to take the stuff from your car!!!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 7:23AM
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Carol_from_ny

I've seen good and bad donation centers and resale shops in both Salvation Army and Goodwill.
Much depends upon whose running things. Personnel seems to make a huge difference in the quality and conditions you find at each.
I'm rather lucky we have a small very local resale shop that does ALOT for our little community and I take my stuff there. Without them I'd go to which every was closest.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 8:31PM
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susanka

I have nothing against either Goodwill or Salvation Army, but as president of a very small nonprofit I want to say that you may be able to give your things just as easily to some local small charity which does not pay any officer or administrative fees. If they're doing a good public relations job you'll see them mentioned in your local paper, and if they're set up properly as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit they can give you a receipt for a tax deduction just like the larger charities do. Just wanted to point out that there may be other options in your community which give you the same advantages.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 11:02AM
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duluthinbloomz4

I agree, susanka - we have a wonderful nonprofit here. Well known for its good works and volunteer staff. All the donated clothing is given away free to those in need; appropriate working attire is kept aside for people to choose when going for job interviews, etc.

Was there a week ago dropping off some unneeded winter clothing and the lady who gave me my receipt said people here are very generous with what they give - virtually nothing has to be discarded.

I have nothing against SA or GW but there are definitely other options where your donations do a world of good.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 2:34PM
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jannie

When MIL died, we cleaned out her house. Readied some things for Salvation Army. They sent a truck with two men. They took a computer desk, nothing else. Refused a wicker chair, a fabric chair, anything electrical (lamps, sewing machine), two complete sets of nice dishes. I asked why not, the driver said "I have the right to refuse anything." We put what they wouldn't take into a dumpster. Neighbors came by, climbed into the dumpster and took mostly everything.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 10:59AM
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jannie

My Grandmother was very thrifty. When clothes got too raggedy or stained to be worn, she'd cut off the buttons and zippers to re-use in her own sewing projects. She then gave the clothes to the "Rag man", not a charity.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 10:50AM
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