Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks to generous people in the community, Goodwill receives thousands of donations each year. We inspect items for quality and safety before they make it to store shelves. Our first priority is to recycle items we cannot sell. Clothing and many other items are sorted and recycled if they do not meet quality standards or if they do not sell after a period of time on our store shelves. A very small percentage of items donated do not meet recycling guidelines and go to the landfill at a cost to Goodwill. Goodwill partners with Dell to responsibly recycle computers at no charge to donors.
Goodwill stores are stocked based on incoming donations. Household items and furniture that meet our quality standards are placed in the stores to be sold. At this time, clothing items are the most abundant donation we receive.
Goodwill stores exist to provide funding for mission programming. Donors expect us to maximize the value of their donation. We have found that selling jewelry online provides the most value for these particular donations, as well as other items we select to sell online. We hope you agree that those who benefit from our job training programs and mission services deserve the best services we can provide.
We understand that not every household has a computer and internet access. Ask a friend or family member who has a computer with an internet connection to use their device or visit a local library. Goodwill’s website is undergoing upgrades to allow shopping via a smart phone. By selling select items online, Goodwill can have a larger impact on people right in our communities through our mission programming. We still have a great selection of items to purchase in our retail stores.
Yes, the items we receive in donations are free to Goodwill. Generous people in the community donate their used items because they believe in the mission programming and good work we do. In addition to funding mission programming, Goodwill employs people to operate our stores. We also pay for the typical expenses of operating the agency such as employee benefits, utility bills, rent, insurance and other expenses. Shoppers often find name brand merchandise and quality items at fair prices. Our prices have changed very little in the past decade.
Most donations stay at your local Goodwill location. During winter months when community members donate less often, some donations are sold in other stores in our territory to give customers like you a store that is full of items to choose from. This process allows us to provide a consistent shopping experience year-round for our customers.
Goodwill’s mission is to help people prepare and train for employment, with a goal to help individuals achieve self-sufficiency. There are several programs in operation throughout our territory (South Dakota, portions of Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota). Our local mission programs include: Boots to Suits, Shoe and Mitten Program, emergency store voucher program through referral agencies, job training programs, employment services, job seeking programs, etc. As our organization is able to grow, we look for ways in which we can enhance the community by providing additional programming locally that is aligned with our mission.
We get that question from time to time. Goodwill is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We have a local CEO, Briget Solomon, and a local volunteer board of directors. Goodwill is not owned by any individual or company. Goodwill complies with IRS non-profit standards and files an IRS Form 990 annually. Independent organizations such as Guidestar, Better Business Bureau, Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator can provide important information on charities. We love to share information about our mission and the work we do. Ask us questions, or request a visit or tour anytime. We promise, you’ll be glad you did!
Our website provides a handy donation value guide. When you make a donation, our donation attendant will give you a receipt for your taxes. You and your tax advisor determine the value of your donation following income tax guidelines. Goodwill is prohibited from placing a value on your contribution.
Store employees are allowed to shop in the stores only on a day off, or before clocking in or after clocking out during normal business hours. Only items on the sales floor, at the time they are shopping, may be purchased. There is an extensive policy on shopping that is reviewed by all employees. This makes the Goodwill shopping experience fair for all customers and employees.
No, in fact the people who work for Goodwill, whether it be in an office or store, are paid employees. In fact Goodwill employs over 500 people throughout our region. If you are interested in working for Goodwill visit our job openings and apply online.
We have a family-friendly culture that offers a team atmosphere. We have a mission of helping others achieve self-sufficiency through education and employment, and have the opportunity to positively impact others on a daily basis. We practice our core values of compassion, achievement, potential, integrity and dignity and have a sense of pride with those we work with. We have fun, too!
For items that cannot be sold or recycled, Goodwill has to pay for disposal. This means less funding for Goodwill’s job training programs and mission services.
Giving to Goodwill is an investment in the future of our community. Goodwill helps people with the greatest need within our community become self-sufficient, tax-paying citizens who contribute to the support of their families (some of these people may now or one day be someone you know personally). And Goodwill gives a second life to items that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Of course, you can visit with the local store manager for concerns or suggestions regarding your shopping or donation experience. Or, for concerns or suggestions on your program experience, please contact the program manager or vocational services coordinator. Or, for any concern or suggestion of any sort, feel welcome to contact our compliance officer, Charlotte Nelson, at or 712-258-4511.
We’d love to see you! Feel welcome to contact your local store manager or contact our marketing team at and our team will connect you to the appropriate location and team member to schedule a tour.
We welcome interviews, and look forward to connecting with you! Please give a member of our Public Relations/Marketing Team a call at 712-258-4511 or email, and we will connect you with the appropriate team member to conduct an interview with you.