Guide to ‘Giving Tuesday’ in the Piedmont Triad

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Charities in the Triad are making a big push this week to meet their year-end donation goals.

It's part of a national movement called "Giving Tuesday" and local organizations need your help to make it happen.

Giving Tuesday has grown in the Triad every year since it started on social media just six years ago. It's a kick-off to the charitable season and encourages people to donate their money, gifts, or time, around the holidays.

At Cover the City in High Point, blankets are coming in by the armful on Monday.

"They just came in this morning and I as I get to look through them, they will go back out the door Wednesday morning," said Amanda Anderson, the organization's executive director and founder.

The charity gives out blankets to homeless people and other organizations across the Triad. It's still behind its goal to collect 3,000 blankets by the end of the month. So far, they're sitting at about 1,100.

"We have this whole week to collect, so I feel like we'll get there," Anderson said.

For the past several years, donations have poured in to Cover the City on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving -- now commonly known as "Giving Tuesday."

"We're a last minute society. We like to point and click. We like to go online and order things," Anderson said. "Giving Tuesday really emphasizes that, where people can go and donate online to their favorite charity."

Local accountants say taxpayers can also benefit from giving back.

“I think it’s the season, the season of giving," said Jon Harris, an enrolled agent at A.M. Payne & Associates in High Point.

Whether you plan to give cash, clothes, toys or blankets, there are some things you should know before you donate before the end of the year.

If you're donating anything other than cash, you'll need to ask for a receipt with the organization's name, location, the date and a description of the donations.

"It needs to be an itemized list, '10 men's shirts,' etc.," Harris said.

It's also up to the tax payer to assess the fair market value of those donations. Harris says his clients typically underestimate the value of their donations. You can use resources online like on the Salvation Army's website to calculate the value of new or gently used donations.

To find out how much money you'll save come tax return time, you'll need to find out your tax bracket.

Harris gave this example: If you're taxed 25 percent of your income, that's the same amount you'll save. So if you donated $100 worth of toys to FOX8's Gifts for Kids this year, you could see $25 back on your tax refund.

"Which doesn't sound like much, until you add it up into hundreds of dollars and then it becomes a fairly significant number," Harris said.

Anderson hopes donors will take advantage of those tax incentives, but she also hopes they'll think about where their money is going.

"These blankets actually give them hope. They put a smile on their face, and rejuvenation, and it is amazing," she said. "That is why we do, here at Cover the Cities, what we do. It is truly to help others."

Before you donate anything, both Anderson and Harris recommend vetting every charity. You can use resources like Guide Star to see what percentage of an organization's donations go to its services.

"Everyone has a favorite organization or something that is near and dear to them, and that's really important," Anderson said. "What I would say is, you need to vet out the organization you're going to donate to, whether you know anything about it or not. Call and talk to them. Ask them where the funds go."

Search #GivingTuesday on Twitter to see what charities in your area are encouraging donations this week.

Many of them, including Cover the City, have set specific goals just for Giving Tuesday. Anderson hopes the community will help raise $1,000 and donate 250 blankets in the 24 hour period.

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