What Happens to Goodwill Donations?

Donations box

At Ohio Valley Goodwill, we’re often asked, “What do you do with all your donations?” The simple truth is that when you choose to donate to Goodwill, your gently used items undergo a highly organized process that ultimately benefits the community and helps fulfill our mission of helping people find jobs! Just last year, more than 3,400 people were served by Ohio Valley Goodwill and more than 900 were connected with jobs in the Greater Cincinnati community, thanks to our programs and services made possible by the generous donations we receive each day. If you’re still wondering why Goodwill is a great place to donate in Cincinnati, take a closer look at what we do with donated items:

Sorting and processing donations

When you donate your unneeded clothing, shoes, accessories, books, toys, household goods, and more to Goodwill, they immediately enter a processing center. At this point, our employees sort and organize donated items to determine what can be sellable at one of our retail stores, where they are then sold at affordable prices. The revenue from Goodwill’s retail stores helps to fund life-changing job placement programs and training services for individuals with disabilities, our nation’s veterans, and others facing challenges to finding employment right here in the Greater Cincinnati community.

Outlet stores

When merchandise doesn’t sell in one of our retail stores, it’s moved to a Goodwill outlet store, where items are sold by the pound at a significant discount. The merchandise at Goodwill outlet stores is rotated every few hours, giving bargain shoppers opportunities to find something new every time they shop!


Items that don’t sell at one of our outlet stores are sold at Goodwill’s live auctions. At Ohio Valley Goodwill, we feature thousands of items up for auction on a bi-weekly basis to provide shoppers the best value possible. Ohio Valley Goodwill also holds a weekly auto auction of donated vehicles on Saturday mornings, with the revenue from each auction helping to fund Goodwill’s programs and services.

Recycling donations

When Goodwill receives donated items that don’t meet our quality standards, we work to find ways to recycle or salvage these items to prevent them from entering our local landfills. Goodwill’s model to reduce, reuse, and recycle makes a positive environmental impact on the global community. Collectively, Goodwill organizations have helped to divert millions of pounds of recyclable and reusable materials including plastic, cardboard, metals, and textiles from landfills across the country as part of our efforts to promote environmental sustainability.

At Ohio Valley Goodwill, your donations go further! Not only do your donations help fund Goodwill’s job placement and skill training programs and services, but donating to Goodwill also saves reusable and recyclable items from entering our local landfills. With multiple convenient donation centers, Ohio Valley Goodwill also makes it simple and easy to donate in Cincinnati! Learn more about donating to Goodwill here.