Elaine Armstrong, director of public relations for Goodwill of North Georgia, said, “This is our busiest time of the year for donations. It usually starts the day after Christmas and goes all the way through Dec. 31. This is primarily because of two reasons: people have gotten new things for the Christmas holiday so they have donated items to bring in and, also, because Dec. 31 is the deadline if you’d like to make a charitable donation to a non-profit to get a tax deduction.”
During the final week of the year, Goodwill of North Georgia sees a remarkable spike in the number of donors to its 100 locations, which include 45 stores and 55 donation centers spread throughout the region. Last year, they had more than 80,000 donors and this year Armstrong expects the number will increase to 90,000.
Frank Weaver, of White, came out on a cold and rainy Saturday to drop off his donations at the Cartersville location. He said, “It was time to clean out the closets and bring in things we don’t need but others can use. Also, we get the donation deduction for our taxes. We try to donate a couple times of year and split the donations between Goodwill, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.”
Goodwill streamlined the process for issuing receipts to donors this year. In the past, a giver dropped off his or her items and filled out a form, which included the giver’s address and donation information. Then the company mailed the contributor a receipt. Under the new system, the donor is given a printed ticket number to be entered into the donation tracker portion of the store’s website, http://goodwillng.org. The receipts of all the contributions made throughout the year are listed under the donor’s account and can be emailed or printed to give to a tax preparer.
Armstrong said, “We are excited to see the difference the new system makes. We began it last January but this is our first big rush season using it. We believe it will definitely expedite the process and help the donation lines move much quicker.”
Clothes and furniture are not the only household items for which contributors can receive a donation receipt from Goodwill. Through its partnership with Dell, the company accepts any unwanted computer equipment and Dell will either refurbish it or recycle it responsibly. Working or salvageable computers and parts are repaired and then resold through Goodwill. According to Dell’s website, in the past nine years the program, called Dell Reconnect, has kept more than 250 million pounds of e-waste out of landfills.
For tax deductions and receipts, the giver determines the value of donated goods. Assistance with assessing an item’s worth can be found on the IRS website, www.irs.gov., listed under Publication 561.
Eliza Newcomb, of Colorado, came to Goodwill to pass along a bag of clothes with her mother, Julie Newcomb, of Cartersville. Eliza Newcomb said, “We like to contribute to Goodwill because of the services they provide to job seekers. They also sell business attire at a reasonable price so anyone can dress appropriately for an interview.”
In 2013, Goodwill of North Georgia’s nine career centers helped 11,000 find jobs. Armstrong said, “There is a cycle that happens. People donate their items and get a tax deduction; we sell their donated goods and that money helps to fund the career centers. The career centers assist in getting people back to work and that benefits the entire community.”