RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolinians are donating more of their dollars to charity than ever before and many local organizations are hoping the trend continues this Giving Tuesday.
The latest Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division Annual Report from the Secretary of State's Office found people donated 40 percent more dollars this past year than the year before.
Giving Tuesday, a day that encourages people to give back nationwide will allow individuals the chance to support local organizations in the Triangle area.
Antwaun Arnold is hoping some residents give to AMIkids Infinity Wake, a nonprofit alternative school he leads in Raleigh.
"We say that we're a family school. And by that we simply just want to make a safe space for kids to come in and feel like students who typically were either overlooked a lot of times or had some difficulties," Arnold said.
Since 2011, the nonprofit has worked with youth agencies, local communities and families to assist dozen of kids in creating positive outcomes. Through their partnership with Wake County Schools and smaller environment, Arnold said he's seen so many kids thrive over the years.
"We've literally had students who probably wouldn't even say no more than two words prior to coming to the school to standing before a local legislator," Arnold said. "A kid with really no idea of what their future would look like to you know, graduating and then entering the job world or going into school."
The organization is one of seven that United Way of Greater Triangle is choosing to target its efforts to on Tuesday.
"These nonprofit partners rely on donated dollars to pursue their missions and literally could not survive without them," explained Devin Desjarlais, the director of marketing with United Way of Greater Triangle.
The seven organizations were selected for making some of the biggest impacts in the area with the fewest amount of resources.
"Every dollar given at any point during the year I think means a lot to all of our nonprofit partners and any nonprofit in the Triangle, but for the nonprofit partners that we specifically chose for this Giving Tuesday campaign every dollar that's given means the most because they're operating with the smallest budgets out of any of the 100 nonprofit partners that we support at United Way," Desjarlais said.
Arnold said donations help fund his teachers, offer scholarships and help students with professional development.
Donations to the other charities will help provide paid leave for Black families, expand youth services in Durham, begin the funding for a childcare center, and fund scholarships for children.
You can find a full list of the organizations United Way is supporting here.
Desjarlais also explained every dollar donated on Tuesday will go directly to the organizations.
The state's Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division Annual Report found around 82% of all donations over the past year went directly into charity programs rather than to fund administrative costs or fundraising efforts. However, around 400 solicitors and organizations that fundraised reported giving 0% to the charity, they were fundraising for.
"Make sure you do your research you can give tomorrow and make sure that the money is going to the actual cause that you want to give to," explained Alyssa Parker, the director of communications at BBB of Eastern North Carolina.
She said you can research charities ahead of time to ensure your dollar is going toward assisting their direct mission.
"If you see something that's incredible like 100% is going directly to the cause. Unfortunately, that's actually not realistic," Parker said. "They also do have to understand that there are going to be some administrative costs, but it's really important to make sure that a good percentage is going to the actual costs."
As people open their wallets for charities on Giving Tuesday and beyond, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reminding people to be wary of scammers.
"One of the best things that we've really said is for people to watch out for names similarities, so often, scammers will use a name that is just like a legitimate organization to try to confuse people and take advantage. Another thing is to really be wary of emotional appeals," Parker said.
She urged consumers to thoroughly research the charity beforehand and recommended using this tool.
One way to make sure an organization is legitimate is by asking about or researching its charity tax status.
"The best thing is to always ask about the tax status. And that's going to be a big giveaway because scammers aren't going to know that information right off the bat because it doesn't exist," Parker said.
The BBB does get an increase in complaints during the holiday season related to illegitimate charity organizations.
"People get very nostalgic and very emotional, but unfortunately scammers take advantage of that and they know to push those buttons, so please, when you're giving money, you know, you want to do so with a solid head on your shoulders," Parker said.
She also said don't fall for unfamiliar charities asking you to get money on the spot, you can take the time to research and verify on your own.
For more tips and tricks, before you give click here.