How to Host a Successful Goodwill Donation Drive

From corporate offices to daycares, sports teams to retirement communities, scout troops to churches and everything in between, local organizations are always looking for ways to give back to the community. If your group is passionate about the environment and helping people find jobs, consider hosting a Goodwill donation drive.

Although hosting a drive is simple, the impact of your donations is huge. When a customer purchases your items at any of our thrift stores in Lincoln and York, the money helps fund local programs that assist job seekers as they overcome traditional barriers to employment. Goodwill donation drives also minimize the size of our local landfill by giving your reusable and recyclable items a second life.

To maximize your fun while doing the most for your community, follow these seven steps:

1. Check for Approval

If you aren’t the head of your organization, be sure and ask for permission before planning the drive. Different organizations have different rules, and your group’s leadership might provide good suggestions for drive dates, pickup locations and other logistics.

2. Pick a Date and Location

Goodwill donation drives typically last 1-2 weeks, but we are happy to find a timeline that works best for your organization. Lobbies, common spaces or visible storage areas make good collection locations – especially if there’s high traffic.

3. Contact Goodwill

Call 402-742-8456 or email to schedule the drive. Our Donations Acquisition Specialist will confirm available dates and help you organize a fun, successful event. Be sure to reach out at least two weeks in advance to book your spot.

4. Create an Incentive

To boost participation and morale, create an incentive for your donors. Do your donors love competition? Split them into teams and reward the group that contributes the most. Need a good laugh? Set a high donation goal, and if the group reaches the goal, have an organization leader dress up in a wacky costume (maybe something purchased at Goodwill. You know your organization best, but if you’re stumped for ideas, we are happy to help you brainstorm.

5. Spread the Word

The best way to ensure a successful drive? Let people know that it’s happening! Word-of-mouth advertising is powerful, but Goodwill can help you take your drive to the next level by providing free marketing materials, such as email announcements, flyers and social media posts. Remember to tell people when the drive is happening, what to donate, and where they can drop off their items.

6. Donate

Once Goodwill drops off the bins, the drive begins! Bring your gently used clothing, electronics and home goods to the donation drive collection site. If you don’t know what to donate, visit our website to see a more comprehensive list of items that we accept. Goodwill will also provide a stack of donation receipts for tax purposes; encourage your donors to save their receipt and use Goodwill’s online guide to estimate the value of their donations.

7. Thank your Donors

After the drive has ended, Goodwill will weigh your total donations and send you a letter or email with the final poundage. Share the good news with your donors and congratulate yourself for making a difference in the community! Not only did you host a successful donation drive, but you also supported local job seekers on their journey toward employment. Click here to learn more about Goodwill’s mission and programs.

3 DIY Holiday Gifts Made From Thrifted Knitwear

Talk about thrifty gifts—We’ve got three ideas for you today that will turn out tons of cozy holiday presents for just about anyone on your list! As an entrepreneurial leader, environmental pioneer and social innovator in the “reduce, reuse, repurpose” practice, Goodwill® is all about keeping things out of the landfill. So, we love to see shoppers work on projects like the ones we’ll share today which showcase a few of the many possible outcomes of repurposed knitwear. If you need to make a little bit go a long way this holiday season, this is the post for you…

Those who celebrate Christmas know that the stocking is an important piece of decor and tradition. Every season we hang our stockings by the chimney with care, so at some point it will be time for new ones. That’s where these stunningly simple drop cloth and sweater stockings from Taryn Whiteaker come into play. With such inexpensive supplies, she must have been able to stitch up this whole set for only a matter of dollars. Even if you can’t think of anyone who needs a new stocking, wouldn’t this be a beautiful substitute for a front door wreath if it were stuffed with greenery? Or, in a smaller size, the perfect topper for a gift? Or a napkin and silverware holder on a Christmas table setting? Just think about the people on your shopping list this year and how this project could work for them.

For a slightly more neutral holiday gift, we have these sweater ornaments shared by Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio, Inc. (Toledo) on their Goodwill Christmas Pinterest board. They would look incredible on a green Christmas tree, but could also bring whimsy to a less Christmas-y display. Imagine them piled high in a large hurricane jar for a wintery centerpiece or scattered across a frosty-looking entryway table display to mimic snowballs. They still have a snug holiday feel to them without appearing over-the-top Christmas-y. In one weekend afternoon you could whip out a bunch of these! Just cover up any thrifted ornament and secure in place with glue. If you’re worried that your sweater will unravel when cut, you can draw the pieces you’ll need on the sweater first then use a zig-zag stitch all around those markings before you slice into it. This should keep the weave together so you can get its placement just right on the ornament before the glue sets.

And here’s one last way to repurpose an old sweater: mug cozies! Even someone who doesn’t celebrate any holidays (but still made it on your to-gift list) would be able to use one of these. You could knit your own from thrifted yarn like the cozies in this picture shared by Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin, Inc. (Madison) on their All Things Holiday Pinterest board. Or, you could use more sweater scraps to make them. If your knit isn’t felted, employ that same zig-zag stitch trick and fold ribbon or bias tape around the edges to further secure it. You could even add buttons to accommodate different-sized mugs if you feel like getting fancy!

So, basically, it IS possible for you to create custom gifts for everyone on your list even just from a knitted sweater or scarf! While you’re at it, any leftover threads of yarn could become tassels for the stockings. Let your imagination run wild and feel great that because your gifts are crafted from second-hand supplies, they’re making a positive impact on the Earth this holiday season.