A Word To The Wise
Not all thrift stores are charities.
Some thrift stores are operated by for-profit companies, yet they
solicit donations under the name of a charity. In these cases,
potential donors usually are not informed of the arrangement between
the charity and the for-profit company. As little as five percent of
the money generated from these donations may actually go to the
charity. The for-profit entity may control the entire operation, from
solicitation to the resale of goods. Making an Informed Choice
You can make sure your donations are benefiting the people who need them most by asking a few key questions:
What You Should Do
- Will your donation be used to support a cause you believe in?
- What percentage of the revenues generated by your donation will directly support the mission of the organization?
- Does the charity actually operate the thrift store in which your
donation will be sold? Or is the store run by a for-profit operation?
- If the store is run by a for-profit, how will your donation help people in need?
- Give to charities you know and trust. Note that fraudulent
charities often modify the names of established groups so be sure to
carefully read the name of the charity before giving.
- Familiarize yourself with the organization soliciting your support.
Avoid giving to organizations that send unsolicited e-mails or to
solicitors who ask for your credit card number over the telephone or
request payment in cash.
- Avoid donating to organizations that can't immediately provide you
with information about their mission, history and the causes they are
asking you to support.
- Find out how your donation will be used and how much the organization intends to raise.
- Realize that the opportunity to give extends beyond an organization's immediate need.
- Wash or dry-clean clothing.
- Test electrical equipment and battery-operated items.
- Include all pieces and parts to children's games and toys.
- Check with your local Goodwill Industries agency to determine standards for donating computers and vehicles. Read more about recommendations for donating a computer.
- Leave items unattended outside a collection center.
- Donate broken or soiled items.
- Give items that have been recalled, banned, or do not meet current safety standards. For more information, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission.