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 Robert Smith, Goodwill President & CEO. “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 Robert Smith, Goodwill President & CEO. “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 the revenues then fund job training programs and support services that help people with barriers to employment achieve their full potential and an increased quality of life. In 2010, Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina provided services to over 22,000 people in our community. By giving to Goodwill, donors are playing a vital role in helping people go to work.
Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina is a nonprofit social service organization whose mission is to help people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work. Over 90 percent of Goodwill’s revenue goes to fund mission related services. Goodwill serves their mission by providing career counseling, job training, and other employment related programs to people who have barriers to employment. Last year, Goodwill was able to place over 450 people into new jobs and served over 22,000 in South Carolina. For more information about Goodwill’s programs and services, please visit www.palmettogoodwill.org.
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