Goodwill donation centers will take some of your unwanted items off of your hands and make them accessible at a very low price to those who need them. Proceeds go to help others become financially independent through education and career assistance.
Find Your Local Goodwill
Goodwill donation centers are everywhere. To find the one closest to you, visit the Goodwill Locator on the Goodwill website. This is more than a city and state search because you can enter in your address to receive the most accurate results.
Once you have entered your address on the site, you'll see a map with markers representing all of the Goodwill centers in your area. Over to one side, you'll see the addresses and phone numbers for each one. In addition to that, you can get maps and directions to each location.
What Goodwill Donation Centers Accept
You can take new or gently used clothing, appliances, furniture, toys and so forth to one of the more than 3,200 Goodwill centers in North America. In some cases, you can even donate cars and computers if you'd like. Find out ahead of time which Goodwill locations near you accept automobile and/or computer donations.
All of the donations are then transported to the retail stores mentioned above so that others may purchase them. Eighty-four percent of the money raised by selling the clothing, furniture, and other donated items on will filter back into the local community to help others become trained for and get jobs that pay a good working wage.
The furniture and clothes you donate should be as clean as possible and items like appliances, games, and toys should include all the parts. Furthermore, make sure that you delete all data from a computer if you choose to donate one.
In general, just make sure that what you leave at the donation centers are things that others may want to buy (and in the case of the computers, don't include any personal information). Though the quality doesn't have to be brand new, "like new" or "in good condition" are ideal.
Remember to check with your accountant when it comes to the tax deductions related to the donations made at Goodwill or other charity organizations because taking a deduction for these types of things can get pretty tricky. For example, according to the Goodwill site, you can only deduct the amount the charity receives for your donated vehicle and you will need written proof including the sales price from that charity. However, if they use the car in a program like Wheels-to-Work, you can deduct the fair market value of the car.
The Bottom Line
Choosing to donate to any charity is a phenomenal thing. Donating to Goodwill ensures that the proceeds from your items really will be recycled into the community. According to Goodwill, the majority of the money made from the sale of items is used to help others gain financial independence through training and jobs.
Since there are so many Goodwill donation centers in North America, it's easy to donate there. Just make sure that your items are in good condition and do not leave them outdoors or unattended. Some locations are "drop-boxes" in store parking lots and the items that can be left there may differ from the variety you can leave at a larger location. If you're already planning to throw out some of your old clothes and furniture to make room for new items, why not turn it into a way to help someone else?