Think Before You Donate – and Get the Facts about Online Rumors!

Goodwill® has a more than 117 year track record in providing services that meet critical human needs in local communities in the U.S., Canada, and 12 other countries. Goodwill is a leading social services enterprise, and is the #1 brand according to the World Brand Value Index. Goodwill is also proud to be recognized by GuideStar with its Platinum Seal of Approval, the highest rating for nonprofit organizations.​

Because we are widely known and respected as a network of nonprofits that create employment placement, job training and education services through the sales of donated items in Goodwill stores; we sometimes stand in the line of fire from individuals and organizations who are  misinformed and/or misrepresent us to the public.

This negative rumor mill continually resurfaces in the form of a now more than ten-year-old email that includes a variation of a message like this: “Think about these before you donate. As you open your pockets to do a good thing and make yourself feel good, please keep these facts in mind…”


The message then quotes erroneous information and salary figures for several nonprofit organizations’ chief executives, including a reference to a so-called “Goodwill CEO and Owner Mark Curran, who profits $2.3 million a year.”  Steve Preston is the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. Learn more about him.

More than 87 percent of the collective revenue from the sale of donated goods at Goodwill organizations supports and grows their critical community-based programs and services. This is a very healthy number in the nonprofit world according to BBB standards, and a solid indicator of our commitment to good stewardship of your donations. Read more about Goodwill’s impact to transform the lives of individuals through our programs.

Goodwill definitely encourages you to “think before you donate” — the one legitimate message that this otherwise spurious email contains — and to research and learn more about the charities you’d like to support. Be certain the organization you choose uses its revenue for charitable purposes that support a mission you can get behind.

Review our audited financial information form on our website. You may also access information about Goodwill Industries International on GuideStar, an online nonprofit database that has certified Goodwill with the GuideStar Exchange Seal for our commitment to transparency.

Thanks for your support, and feel free to share this message with your friends, families and contacts!

17 comments on “Think Before You Donate – and Get the Facts about Online Rumors!
  1. My brother has benefited greatly from Goodwill industries.He is developmentally disabled and has been able to achieve a fully productive life with help from Goodwill. I appreciate all they’ve done for our family.

  2. I love shopping at Goodwill but when you get a quality item and put “No discounts apply” it is very upsetting! Also all stores should accept the discount card! Enjoy!

    1. All stores are not owned and operated by the same ceos/organizations and therefore do not run the same discounts and promotions. If there were national guidelines on promotions, there would also have to be national guidelines on prices. Imagine a farming town in OH charging the same price for a pair of jeans as a store in Los Angeles.

  3. A negative woman complained loudly to a staff member today in your Etobicoke store that Goodwill has become a for-profit fat-cat business with exhorbitant prices. Ha! The staff member maintained an unfailing smile, and as someone who has volunteered and worked along side staff I happily distracted her with “I’m a volunteer! You don’t know what you are talking about!” and other shenanigans.
    I would just like to say that donating, shopping, and volunteering at such a relevant and useful organization is always a pleasure. Complainers be damned. Goodwill, keep up the good work.

      1. So what if some of them are on probation? It’s just another example of GW providing a service that would be denied by people like you, it’s helping them get on their feet and fulfilling a condition of their parol. Oh well, I guess you would rather that someone be dumped out on the street with no source of direction or responsibility so the cycle of crime can continue. At least GW makes more of an effort to keep people from returning to crime than our government does.

      2. JD, there are knowledgeable volunteers in the career centers who are not doing community service, but are retired workforce personnel, etc. Be careful about generalizing. Thanks.

  4. I love Goodwill and have seen firsthand how much you help the community & people with special needs. I’ve seen the salaries of the CEOs and am always impressed with how much the press misrepresents the facts. I wonder where they get their information or if they just make it up. Perhaps a former disgruntled employee writes up this garbage. Either way it hurts an amazing organization that helps thousands upon thousands of people, families, communities. If they only knew the truth.

  5. Sunday, I was sitting in church next to someone who told me that she no longer donates to Goodwill because they are a for-profit organization and all their profit goes to the owners. I was livid. I have always donated to Goodwill. I felt deceived. My instinct was to help spread the word, but before doing so, I decided to verify this story by checking with the IRS. The IRS verified that GOODWILL IS A TAX EXEMPT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION! I’m so glad I know the truth. Thank you Goodwill for all the GOOD you do for families and communities.

  6. I love my local Goodwill. They do such a wonderful job of training their employees. When I compare it to other possible donation no-profits there is no comparison. It is clean, well organized, and has plenty of helpful employees. Thanks for being part of my community. Keep up the good work!

  7. I don’t understand why all Goodwill stores don’t have the same pricing policy. All t-shirt $X, all jeans $X, all winter coats $X, etc. 99% of the items on the racks are donated, and ‘out of style’. Why price a top at $14.95 because it’s from Chico’s and a Dana Buckman at $5.9? Both are name brands, both are probably not available in the retail market, and both were donated. San Antonio stores price like items at one price – and I love them. It’s not the same in Iowa and Minnesota.

  8. The share link on this article is broken. I kept getting error messages and I tried several different times on different devices. To share on Facebook, I had to copy and paste the web address from the top bar (hope that makes sense). This information was worth sharing, so I’m just letting you know that there is a glitch that might cause some not to share it. Thank you!

  9. I’m really happy you published this information. That meme that goes around is really annoying. A quick Google check can dispel the most basic info on there which is the name of the CEO. This was very helpful! Thanks and I will continue to support your cause and many others in an informed manner.

  10. We received the phony email about the exorbitant salary of Goodwill’s CEO and I told my husband I won’t believe it until I check out the facts.
    My daughter and I shop at Goodwill. We see the people you hire and the good job you do at making a great shopping experience for everyone. I certainly could shop at main line department stores, but my daughter is on a much tighter budget. She finds good quality, gently used items that no one would know are from Goodwill. I’m proud of your recycle approach to what you carry and it makes perfect sense to me to recycle instead of buying new if possible.
    Thank you for your mission, we support it!!!

  11. I love shopping and donating to goodwill. Even if they didn’t give to charities they do a great job recycling. I don’t want a receipt I am giving with out a tax deduction.

  12. I love Goodwill. That is my stop weekly at various locations. I have shopped to help my adult children as they moved to a new place to live. I have so many things in my home and i have made so many gifts for other by repurposing. I have redecorated my camper. I go to see just what kind of treasure i will find. I have toys at my house for the grandchildren. I am a Goodwill addict. I love proving to others how many good things i find. I add to my christmas decor to change it up each year. I almost always have a reason to look for something.

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