If you’re a regular Goodwill shopper, then you probably have a favorite local store near you. However, did you know that some of the best stuff that Goodwill has to offer is actually not in those stores at all? Instead, the really good stuff often goes to the Goodwill Online Auction. Here’s what you need to know about shopping at, and donating items to, this online aspect of Goodwill.
Not All Goodwill Stores Are Created Equal
I recently read a terrific book by Adam Minter called Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale. Until reading it, I really had no idea that each Goodwill store is significantly different than the next. Of course, I knew that each one has its own things since everything for sale is donated. Heck, on any given day my Goodwill has an entirely different selection from what it had the day before. Still, after reading this book, I really came to understand how entirely different each store is from the next.
It makes sense, of course. People usually donate their goods to the store closest to them. Therefore, more affluent locations will have different items than poorer places. But it’s even more intricate than that, because what you drop off at one store isn’t necessarily sold at that location. It all gets sorted and sent to the places where it can garner the most money. If something doesn’t sell at one location, it might get sent to another location and sold at a lower price.
So, not all Goodwill stores are created equal. You’ll get different things at different locations on different days. And then when you throw in the Goodwill Online Auction, things get even more nuanced.
What is the Goodwill Online Auction?
ShopGoodwill.com is the home of the Goodwill Online Auction. It is operated by Goodwill of Orange County. However, more than 100 different US and Canadian Goodwill locations list items on the site.
High-value items are pulled out of the stores and sold on this website. For example, if you were to donate vintage items, collectibles, brand-new luxury items, or other things that are high value for the store, these might end up in the Goodwill Online Auction. Electronics, jewelry, and art are popular items to purchase through this tool. You can even buy vehicles through this channel!
Buyers register on the site, free of charge. It’s an online auction site; in fact, it’s the first one ever created by a non-profit organization. You can filter and search for different items. Then you bid on them as you would on other auction bidding websites. Like with many of these sites, there’s sometimes a “Buy Now” option for people who are willing to pay the suggested price to lock in the sale. The earnings from the site go to support the many different programs that Goodwill offers to help people in need gain job skills, literacy, and more.
Can You Donate Items to Goodwill Auction?
The only way that an item is listed for auction on the site is when a Goodwill organization lists it. In other words, you can’t go on the site and sell something; it’s for buyers only. You also can’t choose to donate an item specifically to the auction site. However, if you donate high-quality goods to your local Goodwill, then they might end up on the auction site.
You can always ask your local Goodwill store if they are one of the locations participating in this aspect of the business. Either way, though, if you donate high-value items to Goodwill then you’ll help the organization out, whether they sell it through a physical store or online. In addition to selling items through ShopGoodwill.com, they also sell some things, particularly books, through eBay and Amazon.
Find a donation center near you here. Don’t forget to request a receipt for your donation so that you can claim it on your taxes since it’s a charity donation.
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