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Goodwill v Salvation Army
Old 01-12-2015, 01:21 PM   #1
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Goodwill v Salvation Army

DW an I have donated stuff to both, and I buy stuff from both. Over the last few years I've noted significant differences of employee attitude at the two outfits.

At goodwill the employees are more helpful are generally in good mood and disposition. At salvation army they are generally surly, and unhelpful. on many occasions I pulled up at the donation door. Wrestled stuff out of the trunk, had to prop the door open with my feet to move stuff in. Most occasions there are employees outside smoking or shooting the breze and watch folks struggle with stuff. No one ever says thanks, seems like they view donors as a nuisance.

At goodwill within seconds of pulling up, someone comes out and gets the stuff out of the vehicle, says thank you and offers a receipt which I always decline.

While I realize the goodwill is more profit oriented even though they are a non-profit, we decided never again to donate anything to salvation army.

From my perspective the employee morale is the result of management policies. I doubt goodwill pays better than salvation army, but I really don't know. Nor do I know what percentage of the take goes for the causes they purport to support. I am just a customer and small time donor. But will take my business to the more pleasant environs. Me thinks voting with my wallet is beneficial to me. I do not care to write letters to the salvation army HQ. It is their job to know what is going on in their stores.

Anyone has experience with both?
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:24 PM   #2
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I worked for Habitat for Humanity for a few years, and managed one of the stores. Considering that we picked up most of the donations (furniture, primarily), we made sure that our drivers and helpers were well-schooled in donor etiquette. It helped that most of our "volunteers" were college kids that were working off tickets by doing community service. Rarely did we get a surly one, and if we did, they got to do some less interesting task than pickups.

I donate clothing to Goodwill. Never to Salvation Army, but mostly because the Goodwill is very convenient to me.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
I donate clothing to Goodwill. Never to Salvation Army, but mostly because the Goodwill is very convenient to me.
Same here. Goodwill is very convenient, and the nearest Salvation Army store is quite some distance away.

But a side note:
My father fought in Europe in WW II and thought the world of the Salvation Army for the way they helped the troops over there. The Red Cross was all over too, but he couldn't stand them because they made everyone pay for donuts and coffee while the Salvation Army handed them out for free.

I grew up hearing him talk about that, and much to my surprise I found exactly the same thing while I was in Vietnam. As a result, I came away with the same opinion of those two organizations as my father.

Of course both those episodes are in the distant past, and things may be very different now. I don't know.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:18 PM   #4
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I think Salvation Army is affiliated with some religious group while I don't think Good Will is if that makes any difference to anybody.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:19 PM   #5
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Goodwill is much more convenient for me so that is where I usually drop off donations.

The only thing I noticed about the SA a few years ago was that they carefully looked over the donations and wrote some detail on the receipt. No attitude issues though with SA.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:24 PM   #6
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I think it may be a local issue you're having. I've been in both stores as a consumer and didn't notice a difference in staff attitude.

I tend to donate to Salvation Army because they have a "manned" drop off location that is at the park-n-ride by my house. I'm also very impressed with the homeless shelter they run here in town.

For shopping, the Goodwill is more convenient to me since they opened one a few miles from my home. So I tend to go there. But if I want to look at more than one thrift store I go downtown, and all the stores are within a few blocks... perhaps that makes them competitive with each other, and therefore the staff behaves better.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:25 PM   #7
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A few years ago I donated my suits to the Salvation Army. I had them cleaned and on nice hangers (the wooden kind). The guy at the door said they don't accept clothes on hangers because they (the hangers) were "dangerous". I left and went to a grocery store and bought garbage bags and stuffed the suits into them for drop off, then tossed the hangers into a dumpster. Never again.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:45 PM   #8
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I think it may be a local issue you're having. I've been in both stores as a consumer and didn't notice a difference in staff attitude.....
+1
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:58 PM   #9
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I think it may be a local issue you're having. I've been in both stores as a consumer and didn't notice a difference in staff attitude.
+2. I'd guess it's a local issue too. Seems to be the case with many businesses, the individuals working at each store can vary considerably.

An even stranger example maybe: There are three Starbucks near me, of course menus & products are the same, but the customer service atmosphere is noticeably different at each of them, and has been for years. I can name other chains where store to store consistency is surprisingly variable.

That said, the folks at our local Goodwill are helpful and nice, so I haven't even bothered to find out where the nearest Salvation Army is for us.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:06 PM   #10
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We only have Habitat for Humanity and Salvation Army locally... no Goodwill so it isn't an issue for me.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:15 PM   #11
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Neither...I give to churches that have free clothing distribution, or community thrift stores with low prices, or simply put non-clothing items by the side of the road, protected from the elements with a clear plastic bag.

I live out in the country so I can do that.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:31 PM   #12
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Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity are very convenient for me. The staff at both has always been very nice. Salvation Army is farther away so I focus on the other two.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:55 PM   #13
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But a side note:
My father fought in Europe in WW II and thought the world of the Salvation Army for the way they helped the troops over there. The Red Cross was all over too, but he couldn't stand them because they made everyone pay for donuts and coffee while the Salvation Army handed them out for free.

I grew up hearing him talk about that, and much to my surprise I found exactly the same thing while I was in Vietnam. As a result, I came away with the same opinion of those two organizations as my father.

Of course both those episodes are in the distant past, and things may be very different now. I don't know.
The "charging the troops for donuts" issue has been the bane of the Red Cross's existence for decades. I read a story about the background on the issue, and there's a bit more to it. As it turns out, we can thank the government:

Quote:
The organization started charging only because the U.S. Secretary of War asked it to. British soldiers had to pay for their snacks, and the free doughnuts for Americans were causing tensions. So the Red Cross complied, after protesting to no avail. It didn't last long — for most of the last 70 years, Red Cross doughnuts have remained free — but veterans haven't forgotten.
There's more at Snopes: Red Cross to Bear

Goodwill vs Salvation Army: The Goodwill store/donation center near us is nice--a little TOO nice. They have been going upscale around my area, building new stores in nicer neighborhoods. Facilities costs and rent can't be cheap, which seems a poor use of funds for a charity. But, maybe the net impact is positive.

Salvation Army: Yes, a religious organanization, but they run a tight ship. Their leadership does the work for very little pay, and they run soup kitchens and centers downtown that make a difference. And when there is a disaster, SA gets to the spot fast and starts helping without the shiny new vans and hoopla of the Red Cross.
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:58 PM   #14
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Check CEO compensation at Goodwill. Then you'll donate and shop elsewhere.
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Old 01-13-2015, 06:12 AM   #15
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Snopes on charity CEO compensation.

snopes.com: Executive Salaries in Charities

We donate to Goodwill because they have a store here in our community. For cash donations, we tend to focus on a particular cause, then try to find the group that gets the highest percentage of their money to the intended receiver of the help.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:15 AM   #16
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Check CEO compensation at Goodwill. Then you'll donate and shop elsewhere.
Ok, so the CEO of Goodwill makes a nice bunch of change, gets his merchandise for free etc. . Good business model. I do see several charities' CEO raking in a lot of dough as well.

I still will prefer do business with pleasant people who at least say thanks. If SA eventually figures out that pleasing the customer gets more business, I'll reconsider.

If I want to deal with crappy customer service I visit DMV. If I want to drive I have to put up with them. For my money and donation I have a choice.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:32 AM   #17
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We give cash to Salvation Army (generously) and goods to Goodwill (as we have surplus "stuff").

In my research and regular dealings with both agencies, I find them doing a good job.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:22 PM   #18
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I am still trying to decide the best place to make used good donations. Lately I have been giving stuff to the local animal rescues, but after reading this thread I realized one of those has a crazy high CEO salary for a local charity, though not bad marks on Charity Navigator.

The other one is all volunteer but no Charity Navigator information. The last batch of stuff went to the all volunteer one because it is in a nice area and like a regular store only with cheaper prices. I drop off clutter I don't need and then have a look around to see if there is anything I or one of the kiddos needs. One time I was able to get everything on one of the kiddo's stuff I still need for my first apartment list there in one trip.

I have never donated to Salvation Army. I used to donate to Goodwill mostly because they have very convenient hours here. The staff is always friendly but the below minimum wage pay for disabled workers and high salary for the CEO bad press has me thinking twice about donating to them going forward.

Cash donations usually go to the local food bank and an elephant sanctuary.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:08 PM   #19
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Snopes on charity CEO compensation.

snopes.com: Executive Salaries in Charities

We donate to Goodwill because they have a store here in our community. For cash donations, we tend to focus on a particular cause, then try to find the group that gets the highest percentage of their money to the intended receiver of the help.
Wow! In 2011 the CEO got $725k at this non-profit. Oh, that's that's much better, think I'll drive over there now and help 'em out.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:45 PM   #20
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Something else that happens often during natural disasters...the Red Cross shows up and does lots of help..until the camera crews leave, then they pack up and are gone. The Salvation Army on the other hand will be there for a significantly longer period of time. I saw this on two occasions in Oklahoma after tornadoes.

Sent from my mobile device so please excuse grammatical errors.
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