How can I find people that need second hand clothes?

I’ve read a number of articles in the last year about how some charities end up giving ten percent or less of the money collected to the intended target, and that some of the executives of these organizations are making eight figure incomes. I imagine these reports are sensationalized to some extent and cherry-picking the least charitable examples, but I still thought it might be better to find people that actually things we are no longer using and give them directly to them.

I’ve considered Craigslist, although I wondered if I’d find needy people or nutty yard sale barons. Any suggestions appreciated.

I think first you ought to research some of the existing big outfits. IIRC Goodwill Industries is pretty good, wheres Salvation Army does some pretty evil things with their cash, for example.

If you really want the direct route, there are homeless shelters and various other kinds of shelters (such as for victims of domestic violence, or for orphans, or for people with substance abuse issues). If you look them up and call they might be really happy to get your stuff.

If you personally know any local social workers, they probably know where to put stuff to good use, too. You could call the local department of social services, though I’m not sure whether the people there are supposed to direct inquiries that way.

Goodwill is not so good anymore, it seems:

My small region has a place called the Emergency Assistance Center that helps local people in need. It’s such a small and super-targeted operation that I have no doubt that the stuff they collect goes right to the folks who need it most. I don’t think anyone but 1 or 2 people there get paid, if that many.

Lots of people in our area have no idea that the EAC exists. So perhaps something like it exists in your area that you don’t even know about. Check with your county, who would likely be the ones overseeing places like our EAC, or a women’s shelter, or a men’s shelter. There are definitely people within your area who can benefit directly from the things you no longer need.

If you want to donate your stuff , there’s always Ebay. You might end up taking a loss on the shipping though.

Napier’s suggestions are excellent!

If you choose to find an outfit on your own, try the local churches. Around here, the Catholic Outreach is where I donate some of my used clothes. I have used The Seventh Day Adventist’s Outreach program in the past in another town. Most churches know what local organization are responsible.

The Battered Women’s Shelter is another one I use. They are out there. Your local city/county government should be able to help you find one that you are happy to support. Call their help line.

When donating items other than clothing, I give to the local “Cat House” it is a junk store whose profits go to help spay and neuter feral and wild cats. They also have cats up for adoption.

IHTH, 48.

You could always give your clothing to those who beef it directly. Unfortunately there seems to be no lack of supply of those on the street corner holding signs looking for food, work our money. I would suppose that these people also gave a need for clothing too, especially now during the colder months. I guess you could always ask one of these people if they are in need of some clothes and hand it directly to them.

Did a little research and found a few homeless missions in the area that had great yelp reviews (who knew). Their websites indicate specific needs for clothes (suits, new socks and underwear, etc) which don’t really fit what I have, so I guess I’ll keep looking.

All Catholic parishes will take them.

Ok, Dumbguy, Now you have me curious. What do you have to donate? If it is used undies, Some of the homeless shelters take these. Evertyhing else is easy to find homes for.

As Ají de Gallina said “All Catholic parishes will take them.” They will find their way to a Catholic Outreach in your region. If they are to far gone for reuse, they either get thrown out, or cut into rags, or sold to folks who will cut them into rags. The money will then buy whatever the Outreach has a need for. I asked the nun when I dropped off some of my donations.

IHTH, 48.

Nobody needs secondhand clothes.

Some people need clothes, and would be happy with secondhand clothes. But matching the clothes someone needs with the clothes that you have to give away is an impractical task.

Most of the clothes donated to charity are not distributed to people in need of of clothes of that particular type. They are sold, and the proceeds are used to finance charitable activities.

If you don’t trust a charity to sell your clothes and spend the proceeds charitably, then sell them yourself and spend the proceeds charitably. Or, continue to wear them, and spend charitably the money you would have spent in buying new clothes to replace them.

See if there’s a Freecycle group in your area.

I agree with UDS, if your clothes are in good shape and the better brands, sell them as a “lot” if you dont want to mess with it too much. Then give the money or buy something for someone that you know that is hardworking and needs help. Every year I help someone who is really trying and struggling. Three years ago it was a wedding dress for a wedding that two really great people couldn’t afford, and she had lost both her parents, next year Christmas for five siblings with deadbeat parents, this year down payment for a divorce for a hardworking mother of two who was married to an abusive f**k whichalso got her orders for child support. If you look around people you know there is always someone who really deserves and needs help. Than there’s the animals, paying for several spays and neuters a year is kind of a gift that keeps giving. Thats usually two litters that are not born per dog/cat. A students books, a construction worker with a big family new boots, new glasses for someone, a car repair, needs are endless.
I have also read the goodwill horror stories.

It is very common to find smaller local charities that run resale shops, where 2nd hand goods are sold and the proceeds go to support the charity. Organizations like women’s shelters, animal welfare groups, local hospitals, etc. Basically the same idea as Goodwill or Salvation Army, but an alternative if you just don’t want to support those organizations. If you google “thrift store” or “resale shop” plus city name then you can see if there is anything like this in your area.

Personally this is what I prefer to do with better clothing - it gets sold for top dollar (these stores are pretty good at sorting, pricing, and displaying merchandise) and the charity gets money to run their organization. Even charities that distribute clothing need cash to run themselves and keep the lights on.

If you go down to your local thrift store you can find crappy used clothes literally overflowing the racks, with some stuff only a few cents. I’m sure there’s somebody in the world who would be happy to have your used clothes, but tracking that person down is a difficult job.

Your used clothing is usually worth almost nothing. If you want to help people in need, give them cash. If you have used clothing that is actually worth something, sell it at a consignment shop and give the cash away.

I think the items above are excessively pessimistic - I have no qualms about dealing with the local Goodwill. My church has a thrift shop - clothes have to be in decent condition, the rest are sold as rags. Underwear is new, from donations.

I wasn’t necessarily trying to find a perfect match for what I have. It’s just the local homeless shelters I found had surprisingly specific lists like this:

New Tube Socks
New Underwear (Boxers)
New Women’s Undergarments (Sports Bras and Plus Sizes)
Men’s Pants (especially sizes 34 – 44)
XL, XXL, XXXL Men’s Shirts
Men’s Tennis Shoes Size 8 and Higher
Shower Shoes
Pajamas, Tops and Bottoms
Teen Clothing

I’ll look into selling the stuff and donating the money. I’ll check out Freecycle too. I guess it’s a selfish impulse, but I was just hoping to do something like texasmiss was talking about, give something to a specific person rather than dump it in a bin somewhere and hope it doesn’t just end up funding infrastructure and management salaries at some vaguely charitable conglomerate.

Depends on where you are. Most large cities have local charities that are very efficient (that is, high percent of donations that actually go to the poor), you just need to look a bit. Plus, you’re not donating money, you’re donating old clothes. It’s unlike the CEO will pick through them for his/her personal use. :wink:

Most charities sort through stuff (like old clothes), keep what they can use, and throw out what they can’t. Some charities donate what they can’t use to other charities that might use them, so there’s more chance of your stuff actually reaching those in need. You should be able to find this information from the organizations. (We recently went through this with my mother-in-law’s furniture and clothes and kitchen stuff, etc after her death. A cousin recommended a charity in Chicago that gives stuff they can’t use to other organizations that might.)

This is garbage, sensationalist reporting. There is nothing unfair about the Special Wage Certification program. In many cases, paying the severely disabled a full wage would disqualify them from important benefits and services. Which the article of course fails to mention. In the majority of cases, people working the consumer services jobs at Goodwill do so not to earn a living, but to have a job that adds purpose and dignity to their lives.

And don’t get me started on the “oh lawdy, look at the salaries of these non-profit executives!” garbage. Here in Indy, Goodwill is the largest non-hospital or -university in the area - and as such, employs the largest number of marginally hireable individuals in the state. If you want to attract a competent executive to oversee thousands of employees, dozens of retail stores, 10 charter schools and hundreds of students, you better offer a competitive salary.

A 10% fundraising efficiency is incredibly, unbelievably rare. Those are numbers generated by very shady tactics, typically phone banks - and usually end up on the wrong side of federal investigation. If you have concerns, check Charity Navigator or GuideStar on any particular charity.

Read the newspapers for stories of fires that destroyed homes in the past few days, or phone the fire department for such information. Often, a house fire destroys all the clothing of an entire family, even if it only smoke damage… Newspaper accounts often give the ages of the family’s children. Donate your clothes to them.