For-Profit Charity Groups Hurt Non-Profits, Local Charities Say

Some charities are concerned that for-profit clothing donation organizations are doing more harm than good in their quest to purchase clothing.

The Daily Item reports that many charity organizations that specialize in collecting and re-purposing used clothing claim that for-profit donation companies are funneling off much needed funds and resources from them, using the money instead for corporate gain.

Doug Diven, the founder and president of the HandUp Foundation in Milton, Pennsylvania, says his organization lost nearly $50,000 over the last two years due to a lack of clothing donations, which he attributes to for-profit companies.

“We rely tremendously on clothing donations,” Diven said. “We’re losing more to other organizations.”

The HandUp Foundation helps the poor, unemployed, victims of fires and accidents, and other less-fortunate people by offering them financial assistance and resources. They rely heavily on clothing donations, which they resell to clothing and textile companies and use the profits to help those in need.

The HandUp store gets roughly half of the organization’s total revenue. The store, which sells clothing, furniture, and household products, used to generate 10% of its sales from clothing. However, clothing now only generates 5%.

“I’m not trying to knock them, but I think it’s real important for the community to know these for-profits are draining resources,” Diven said.

Bob Hauer, the director of public relations at CommunityAid, a Harrisburg-based non-profit, is not bothered as much by for-profit companies as he is by the idea many people have when they donate their clothing to them. He feels that the patrons are under the false impression that their donations will benefit the poor and needy in the local area.

“It doesn’t stay in the area,” Hauer said. “It’s driven to New York for the international rag market. Nobody wants to donate their clothing so somebody could become a millionaire.”

He also believes that one problem with non-profits is that they do not give enough information about where and to whom the clothing will go.

“People donate and walk away thinking they did something good,” he said.

However, not all non-profits struggle or are taken advantage of. The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, for example, helps more than 12 million people every year.


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