Donating items to Goodwill can be a great way to get some money back on your taxes, keep some unwanted items out of a landfill, and support underprivileged members of your community all at the same time. Many people wonder exactly what happens when they donate their goods to Goodwill, however. Here is a brief rundown of what happens to your donation items when you give them to Goodwill.

Items are examined, tested and sorted

Unfortunately, while many people pass on items of good quality that still have plenty of life left to be used by someone else, others simply use the Goodwill drop-off to get rid of unwanted trash or items that no longer work. Goodwill does its best to ensure that any merchandise it sells is in fair condition or in good working order, so the first thing they do is examine, inspect, and test all the items brought in.

Items are distributed to the appropriate location

Approximately 60% of the items donated will go directly to their retail stores, where the items are sold at a good discount. If they don’t sell there, then Goodwill still gives those items a second chance at their outlet stores where they are even more heavily discounted. In some cases, items that can’t be sold in a retail store can still be recycled or reused in some way. In some cases, they may even trade items with another non-profit that may have items they can’t use, but Goodwill can. For instance, many homeless shelters will have far more clothing donations than they can use but may be in need of plates, cups, dishes, utensils, or other kitchen implements to help them serve meals. Anything that can not be sold, recycled, traded, or reused, however, will still end up in a landfill. That being said, Goodwill does save millions of tons of materials each year from being sent straight to a landfill.

The proceeds from your items are used to support the community

Approximately 87 cents out of every dollar that is spent in a Goodwill store goes right back into the community. While many people know Goodwill is a charity and are familiar with their retail store operation, they may be unaware that the real mission of Goodwill is to strengthen local communities by helping people find jobs. In just 2014 alone, they helped more than 9,000 individuals find jobs.