You drive up to the donation door at Goodwill NCW, pop your trunk and hand off a box, bag or tote full of gently used items to our friendly attendant. Have you ever wondered what happens next to your donation?

Our backrooms are busy with activity! We process more than 350,000 items each week across our 27 retail store locations (not including our Outlet store). That means new items are available every day for our customers to browse and buy. It also means your generous donation makes an almost immediate impact on our mission because an average of 90 cents of every dollar raised by Goodwill NCW store sales is reinvested to fuel the mission.

Here’s what happens between the donation door and the sales floor:

  1. Your donation jumpstarts the process. Our Donor Greeters meet you at the door, accept your donation and thank you for your generosity.
  2. Unique items arrive daily. Our Production Specialists and Senior Production Specialists take over from there. Your donation is sorted into many different categories like books, shoes, glass, home décor and t-shirts. One-of-a-kind items make every day interesting.
  3. Prices honor the donation. Apparel items are hung and priced. Glass, home décor and other items are ticketed and placed on carts. Prices are intended to reflect a fair value to the shoppers and provide enough monetary value to support the mission.
  4. Let the treasure hunt begin! Your donation is now ready for purchase. Our team members wheel out carts and racks of items and place them in the appropriate sections around the store, giving treasures a chance of finding a new home and diverting items from the landfill.

These processes are designed for both efficiency and simplicity, which maximizes the success of individuals of all abilities as they train and work in our stores. Keeping inclusion at the forefront of all we do means our operations are mission integrated, Eliminating Barriers to Employment throughout the processes.

What does it mean for people with barriers to work in our mission-integrated environment?

“It creates a sense of belonging for each of them,” Sheri Cartwright, Store Team Leader at the La Crosse Goodwill said. “It builds their confidence and allows them to build on their strengths and be who they are. Their contributions to our organizations help our communities understand that we are all the same and deserve the same respect.”

For some, like AJ, working in the production area provides a first job experience and skills to prepare them for future careers either within Goodwill NCW or in the community. For others, like Tina, it is a fresh start that leads to improved financial stability. For all it is a hand up, not a handout.

“My favorite part of leading a team that has a mission-integrated focus is that each one of us can see and feel the impact daily,” Jackie Clayton, Store Team Leader at the Wisconsin Rapids Goodwill store said. “We all are working at various levels and abilities, but we get to see others’ progress and the team gets to share growth opportunities together in an inclusive environment. Leading a working environment that makes people feel valued and respected for the gifts they each bring to the workforce, and to our community, is just outstanding life-changing work that branches out to the community in a big way. That is pretty amazing, and I am thankful to be a part of it.”

Your act of generosity becomes a force for change, creating a better life for many. Thank you for being an essential part of this important journey!

Find your local Goodwill NCW store