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Thrift Store Donations

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

This time of year some give to charity because it feels good. Others give for the tax break.

Tonight we have a closer look at thrift shop donations.

Some of you will drop off a couple of bags of clothes at Goodwill. And some of you will drop off a couple of bags of clothes at Savers.

Many of you see that as the same thing.

But there is a difference.

Goodwill Industries of Arkansas helped over 1,000 people...many of them with disabilities and other special needs...become more employable and find jobs last year.

Anyone who donated clothes or other items to Goodwill played a role in that effort.

"Ninety-six percent of our agency's budget is derived from the sale of donated goods," says Brian Itzkowitz, President and Executive Director of Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. "So the more donations that we have the more people we can serve."

Competing for donations with non-profits like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are for-profit thrift stores like Savers.

Savers, based in Washington state, does support charities.

For example, in central Arkansas 25 percent of the budget for Big Brothers, Big Sisters comes from donations made to Savers. But Savers itself is not a charity. And if you write off donations made directly to Savers on your taxes as if you gave to a non-profit organization, it could cause you problems with the IRS

"Sometimes when you look at a for-profit, they are taking the donations, selling them, and a little bit goes to the charity while the majority of it is funneled back to a for-profit entity," says Itzkowitz. "So that is a huge difference...is that your donations to Goodwill stays in the state and supports the efforts that we're doing here in the state to help Arkansans."

What percentage does Savers give back to local charities? We're not sure what the number is in Arkansas, but in some states it is under five percent.

Still...that five percent if significant to the charities that benefit.

Air date: December 18th, 2013