SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – On June 15, members of the local media gathered at Goodwill Manasota’s Ranch Lake Store (Lakewood Ranch) for a lunch-hour “Media Challenge.” The purpose of the event was to demonstrate how donations from the community support Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through the power of work.
The program started with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Goodwill “river” – the process of taking items from point of donation to point of sale – led by Alexa Olivas, a manager for Goodwill Manasota. Olivas explained that every donation center breaks down donations the same way, for more efficient processing prior to the items making their way to the sales floor.
Olivas said that half of Goodwill’s sales are generated by apparel, although men’s apparel lags far behind since men tend to wear their clothing and shoes until they’re completely worn out. Team members colorize and categorize merchandise to make sure they are achieving maximum value on the sales floor.
The next section of the river is called “Hardlines” and includes furniture, books, shoes, accessories, housewares and electrical/electronic items. Olivas said that each and every sale supports Goodwill’s career services, both for its free, external Job Connection services and internal employment.
“Out of more than 800 Goodwill employees throughout all four counties, 60 percent of team members have some type of barrier to self-sufficiency,” said Olivas at the start of the tour. She emphasized that the revenue generated through the sales at its stores makes it possible for Goodwill to employ individuals with disabilities, some of which are significant.
Participants learned how team members are trained to become “subject matter experts” so that they can maximize efficiencies and revenue. They also discovered that everything in stores is rotated every three weeks so inventory remains fresh.
After the tour, media partners were teamed up in a friendly competition to try their hand at processing the donated goods, just as they had witnessed during the Goodwill River. The participants were tested in sorting, hanging, evaluating goods for pricing, and working the pricing gun.
At the close of the challenge, participants took part in an informative question and answer session, led by Goodwill Manasota vice president, Veronica Brandon Miller. They learned how Goodwill partners with 220 other charitable organizations in the region to make sure that efforts are not duplicated and that the services are provided to those in most need.
“We were so pleased to host members of media so that they could see how Goodwill’s business model has evolved to maximize efficiencies and revenue,” said Miller. “They could also see first-hand how store revenue supports employment opportunities for team members with barriers to employment, who may not have been given a chance elsewhere. We are grateful to the media for helping to tell our story so that community members can feel confident their donations are appreciated and stewarded wisely.”
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2015, Goodwill Manasota served 22,739 people, placed 961 people in jobs and assisted 358 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 41 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota in essence belongs to this community, and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.