As 2013 winds down, Goodwill’s donations team is gearing up for its busiest time – the final six days of the year.
“I kind of see those final six days of the year as Christmas for goodwill,” said Jamie Berry, a spokesperson for Goodwill. “The Lebanon facility does see a big increase in the number of donors during those last six days.”
During that time last year, donation attendants assisted double the number of donors who ordinarily visit a Goodwill donation site during the course of a week.
And according to Berry, the well-known nonprofit is expecting even more this year.
“We are all-hands-on-deck,” said Berry. “We’re fully staffed or the final six days, especially the final two days.”
She said there are two main reasons for the post-Christmas rush.
“One is people want that last-minute tax receipt,” said Berry.
Items donated before Jan. 1 can be deducted on 2013 tax returns.
“The second reason is because you just opened those Christmas presents, so you’re trying to make room for your new items,” she said.
While those are often the main reasons for the rush, she said she also sees it as an extension of the Christmas Spirit.
“People really use Christmas time to teach their children about giving,” said Berry.
She said the most commonly donated items at this time of the year are often clothes, televisions, furniture and toys.
Berry cautioned that Goodwill does not accept mattresses, but the organization has begun accepting computers and other electronics, such as tablets, as long as they are in good working order.
She suggested the following tips to keep in mind when donating to Goodwill:
• Donors who wish to claim a tax deduction should request a receipt form the attendant when they drop off their donations. The IRS allows a deduction for each item, but it is up to the donor to estimate each item’s value.
• Have an inventory of your items ready before your trip to Goodwill.
• It helps if you remove all hangers from clothing.
• If you have a single donation worth more than $500, you will need to complete IRS Form 8283.
• If you have a single donation worth more than $5,000, you will need a qualified written appraisal.
“When you donate an item to Goodwill, that item is then sold in the store and the revenue from selling those items is what provides the money for us to help people,” said Berry.
More than 80 percent of the revenue from the sale of donated items funds employment and training opportunities to people who have disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs.
“It all starts with a donation,” said Berry.