Thrift stores can give clothes, toys, furniture, and other household items a second life, rather than getting discarded in the landfill. However, not all thrift stores are created equal. While some thrift stores, like Goodwill, are nonprofit organizations, there are plenty of for-profit companies that will take your donations. 

Understanding how non-profit thrift stores operate compared to their for-profit counterparts may make you rethink where you choose to donate and shop. 

What Does a Nonprofit Store Do?

By definition, a nonprofit doesn’t allow anyone to personally profit from the organization. Thrift stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are affiliated with a nonprofit charity, and they are required to spend “no less than 65% of total expenses on program services,” according to the Better Business Bureau

Goodwill spends around 82% of their revenue on skills training and job placement programs. While Goodwill is an international organization, it’s actually made up of more than 162 independent Goodwill organizations, like the Goodwill of South Texas. All these independent organizations work together toward a common goal, which is to “include job training and employment opportunities for people such as those with disabilities, veterans, or ex-offenders.” In fact, those words form the center pillar of Goodwill’s mission. 

Non-profit thrift stores are heavily community-focused. They care about supporting those who are low-income, underserved, or simply love thrift shopping

In addition to helping people learn digital skills and get employment, Goodwill is passionate about helping you or your organization run your next donation drive. Whether your cause is to supply new mothers with baby formula and other supplies, or to donate pet supplies, your local Goodwill organization wants to help! 

For-Profit Thrift Stores

For-profit thrift stores aren’t required to spend a set amount of their revenue on program services, and their CEO and board can reap the benefits of your donations. This doesn’t mean that organizations like Value Village don’t support their local community or a worthy cause, they’re simply not required to maintain a certain status. 

However, because for-profit thrift stores profit from your donations, you cannot claim your donations to them on your taxes. 

Which Thrift Stores Are Non-Profit, and Which Ones Aren’t?

If you’re wondering which stores fall into which categories, here are many of the largest thrift stores in the nation, as their official designation:

For-Profit Thrift Stores Non-Profit Thrift Stores
Savers/Value Villages Goodwill
America’s Thrift Store Salvation Army
Red, White and Blue ReStore
  St. Vincent de Paul
  Deseret Industries

To learn more about Goodwill’s non-profit designation or how we’re helping our local community, check out our events and learning services page to see what we’ve been up to!