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09/07/15

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Donate – and Shop – with Confidence

News stories and social media posts highlight the need to better understand the charities we support so that we can feel good about the donations we make and the volunteer time we give. Important questions to ask include:  Does the organization’s mission align with what I believe in and am passionate about?  Does the organization direct as much money as possible directly to supporting that mission?

At Goodwill, we created the following Quick Facts to make it easy for customers, donors, or others in the community to understand the answers to these questions…and more.

FACT: All Goodwill employees earn above minimum wage.
Starting wage for our employees is $9.25/hour and they receive numerous benefits including a pension, health insurance, dental and vision coverage, paid time off, retail bonuses, education reimbursement and more. It’s a great place to work and we are always looking for dedicated people to join our team.

FACT: We don’t know who Mark Curran is, but we know he isn’t our President or CEO.
Despite the assertions in erroneous emails and social media posts that periodically surface, the richly compensated Mark Curran is neither the CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina nor the CEO of any other Goodwill agency.  In truth, the CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC is paid less than the median wage for chief executives at comparable nonprofits. The Board of Directors sets the salary and compensation of the CEO, and has a clear process for doing so which includes annual reviews of performance, community impact and market evaluations of nonprofit executive compensation.

FACT: Goodwill consistently ranks among top charities that make your donations go further.
An important measure of a nonprofit’s effectiveness is the percentage of revenues channeled into programs and services. The Better Business Bureau says that a “good” charity channels at least 65 percent of revenues into mission-based services. With 90 percent of our revenues supporting mission and sustainability, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina far exceeds that minimum.

FACT: Goodwill puts people to work.
In 2016, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina helped more than 35,000 people plan for new careers, improve their employability, obtain marketable job skills, and earn nationally-recognized, industry-specific credentials.

FACT: Goodwill’s services are free.
Goodwill does not charge for its employment and training services – all services are free – because they are funded by our retail stores. Skills training classes often charge a fee, but that fee is paid to our community college partners – not to Goodwill. When an individual cannot afford a skills training class fee, Goodwill will cover the cost through our Outreach Scholarship Fund.

FACT: Your donated items make programs possible.
Donated items are sold through our retail stores, and revenues go to fund Goodwill’s skills training, career counseling, and youth services that help put adults to work and youth on a positive path of self-discovery and success. Without the revenue from our stores, we would not be able to help unemployed and underemployed people in our community find hope, opportunity, and a chance at a better life through the power of work.

FACT: Goodwill has everyday bargains and “special finds” that are priced differently.
Each and every day, we try to create a positive experience for our customers by providing quality items at bargain prices while, at the same time, generating as much revenue as we can from our donations so that we can support our mission. Nearly all of our clothing donations are unit priced, which means there is a set price for all pants, shirts, etc., regardless of brand or condition. Some items, such as electronics and mechanical items, have three tiers of pricing (“good-better-best”) based on quality.  A very small amount of our store inventory (less than 3%) is classified as special finds. These may include one-of-a-kind items or certain premium designer items, for example. Special finds are priced at three times the unit price or greater. If an item (non-unit-priced) hasn’t sold in 7-10 days, we have a markdown procedure, so some customers enjoy “watching” an item to wait for the markdown.

FACT: Goodwill has to compete for the best employees, just like any successful organization.
Like for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations need to pay competitive salaries in order to attract and keep strong talent that can run an organization well. Running a Goodwill is a complicated business – our goal is to raise as much revenue as possible through innovative, sustainable, sound business ventures, so that we can set up more job training programs, employment placement services, and other support services that put more people to work in our communities. There has been a great deal of misinformation about leadership salaries at Goodwill.  Get the facts through independent watchdog sites like snopes.com before spreading false rumors that have the potential to negatively impact the people who need us – and other nonprofits – the most.

 

Access Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina’s financial reports, annual reports and other resources on our About Us page.

We encourage donors to do their own research on nonprofit organizations using independent charity watchdog resources: