From Jeans to Jobs: What Happens to Your Goodwill Donation?

By Alana Sesow

With spring cleaning in full swing, there are countless destinations for your gently used items. So why donate to Goodwill?

Lincoln Goodwill is more than just a network of thrift stores; we’re a locally operated organization that connects job seekers to employment opportunities. To celebrate National Goodwill Week, we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look into our donation process. In just five steps, here’s how we turn jeans into jobs:

Step 1: Donation.

The jeans-to-jobs journey begins with donors like you. From retail stores to community drives, outdoor bins to free home pickups, Goodwill makes donating easy. We accept gently used clothing, electronics, furniture, and home goods; click here for a more comprehensive list of our accepted donations.

Step 2: Sorting.

After the initial drop-off, Goodwill employees sort donations based on quality and type. First, we separate textiles – clothing, bedding, towels and like items – from non-textiles. Then, we check for quality: gently used items are sold in our stores while items that don’t meet our production standards are responsibly recycled.

Step 3: Hanging, Pricing, and Placement

Once the donations are sorted, employees hang clothing, organize non-textiles, and price items accordingly. The following morning, we place the newly priced items onto the sales floor and prepare for customers to shop.  

Step 4: Purchase

The doors open, and the fun begins! Customers browse our daily updated selection of gently used goods in search of one-of-a-kind treasures – like your donation! Rather than sitting in the landfill, your donation now sits in the home of a grateful new owner.

Step 5: Job Connection

Every Goodwill purchase helps job seekers find employment. Sales from our retail stores help fund local employment services, such as our Job Connection Center: a free computer lab in downtown Lincoln that provides one-on-one assistance to local job seekers. Additionally, Goodwill maintains its ROE program and partners with local nonprofits to serve people with disabilities, criminal records, and other traditional barriers to employment.

Every donation makes a difference. Whether you donate an entire wardrobe or a single pair of jeans, your generosity ensures that Goodwill can continue to make Lincoln greener and serve local job seekers. Visit to find a donation center near you.



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