Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries
Serving Greater Cincinnati

What Really Happens to My Goodwill Donations? Your Questions Answered!

Picture this: You pull away from the Goodwill Donation Center with a grin on your face and a bounce in your step. You feel good. You organized your space at home and gathered up a pile of items to donate. You know donating to Goodwill is the right choice, but have you ever caught yourself wondering, what really happens to my Goodwill donations? We’ll fill you in!

Step One: Gathering

It doesn’t matter which Ohio Valley Goodwill Donation Center you drop off your items, they’re all gathered up and taken to a central sorting facility in the Cincinnati area. There, Goodwill employees unload all the donations and sort them into assembly lines.

Step Two: Sorting

Each of your donations passes by a Goodwill employee who checks their condition. Those employees determine if the item is ready for sale in an Ohio Valley Goodwill Thrift Store. If so, it’s on to pricing. If not, the items move to another sorting line.

Step Three: Pricing

The donations that will soon make their debut in the aisles of a Goodwill thrift store are sorted by category, and in the case of clothing, by size and style. For example, all the pants are sorted onto a rack. Next to that are t-shirts, and so on. These items are priced for sale and a Goodwill employee attaches a sale tag to be used in-store.

Step Four: Distribution

Once the donated items are ready for sale, things get a little more complicated. Ohio Valley Goodwill operates 19 retail stores in the Cincinnati region, and each store is a little different, with its own unique customer base. This is why it’s smart to shop multiple Goodwill stores. You’ll find something different at each!

What About Items That Can’t Be Sold in Our Retail Stores?

If items aren’t able to be sold in Goodwill’s retail stores, the next step is our Outlet Store and As-Is Auction!

Our Cincinnati Goodwill Outlet store, fondly known as “the bins,” is another great place to find unique items at extremely low prices. Located next to our headquarters in Woodlawn, Ohio, the Goodwill Outlet Store features bins filled with clothing, housewares, glassware, media, and toys sold by the pound for incredible savings. The bins are rotated regularly with a fresh stock of merchandise, so you never know what you’ll find!

If you’re looking for bulk items, try our Cincinnati Goodwill As-Is Auction. A resellers dream, the as-is auction offers thousands of bulk items up for auction every Tuesday and Friday morning in Cincinnati.

Even if items aren’t sold in Goodwill’s retail stores, outlet store, or as-is auction, it’s still not the end of the road. Ohio Valley Goodwill is dedicated to sustainable practices, so even if your donation can’t be sold, we work hard to find another way to reuse it.

Our employees sort through the donations that can’t be sold to identify opportunities for recycling. For example, textiles can be sold to companies that use them to manufacture new items such as rags, carpet padding, insulation, and more. Our goal is to keep it out of the landfill!

Doing Good in Cincinnati

The donations, the thrifting, and the recycling all serve the Goodwill mission. That’s to provide opportunities for individuals through meaningful employment. When you donate to Goodwill, you’re making our job skills training and other services possible for individuals who face barriers to employment. Our services help them find fulfillment and become fully included within our community.

So yes, you should drive away from our donation centers with a smile on your face. Your Ohio Valley Goodwill donation makes a difference! Find your nearest Donation Center and make a donation today.