Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I donate?

You can donate at any Goodwill store. FIND A STORE.

Why should I donate to Goodwill over another store?

Goodwill focuses on job training programs for the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin. Our programs help people with disabilities or people looking for some more experience before heading out into the workforce. As they obtain meaningful employment that work turns into a paycheck, which strengthens the local economy.

But the ability to do something meaningful to support one’s self is something that improves that person’s quality of life. A purpose, an escape, a task to be completed; it can all come from a job when there may not be another opportunity elsewhere. We aren’t saying to not donate to other groups, but the impact your donation makes is unparalleled with Goodwill.

If I shop at Goodwill, am I depriving people of things they need?

No. Goodwill serves people by educating and training them into jobs. These individuals gain resources to buy the things they need by being gainfully employed. Sometimes that’s with Goodwill, but they can also go out and be a part of the community as they work.

How does Goodwill overcome employment barriers?

Through a menu of different services, Goodwill can give personalized care to every person to find out their strengths and weaknesses, interests, skill set and more to help people grow and develop in their own ways. These are done through our Workforce Development locations and are paired with many different agencies across our district.

Who can I contact about store policies?

Store managers are available to answer any questions you may have about sales, return policies and more. FIND A STORE to contact the one closest to you.

What can I donate?

Any gently-used items can be donated to Goodwill. Apparel always seems to be in need, but furniture, games, books and housewares always find a home through our stores. There are some things that we do not take due to safety reasons but managers usually have discretion on certain items. If you have any questions, please refer to our Donation Guidelines or contact the nearest store near you. If we can’t take it, we try to network you with someone that can accept your donation.

Is Goodwill really a non-profit?  Is it a religious organization?

Yes, all Goodwills — including ours — are 501 (c) 3 non-profit organizations since we work with so many different people that need help. We take the money made through sales in the stores and put it towards the services and employees that help people overcome employment barriers across the region.

That said, we are not a religious organization. Goodwill was initially started by a Methodist reverend and doctor Edgar Helms, but has always been separate. Helms described Goodwill as an “industrial program as well as a social service enterprise … a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources were depleted.”

How is Goodwill Industries of Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan different than other Goodwills?

As each region have different cultures, they also have different societal barriers for employment. Factors like population density, primary language, and urban-vs-rural economies can all shape what programs are needed for an area. Breaking the country into regions makes it easier to focus on the issues that impacts us.