Nonprofits hopeful New River Valley donors 'Give Big' despite tax reform

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- It's the only museum dedicated to preserving the history of Montgomery County, but it's not in perfect shape.

"As you can see from our building and our grounds, we need quite a bit of work done here," said Sue Farrar, the executive director of the Montgomery Museum of Art and History.

Specifically, the museum is looking to expand with the help of donations from the GiveBigNRV fundraising campaign.

It's a 24-hour drive that encourages donations to more than 100 participating non-profits in the region.

"We have a goal of $300,000," said Jessica Wirgau, the executive director of The Community Foundation of the New River Valley, which hosts and publicizes the campaign.

Even more was raised last year, but with the standard tax deduction for married couples nearly doubling in 2018, experts say the incentive to make donations has gone down.

"In order for you to gain any type of benefit from doing a charitable contribution, all of your itemized expenses would have to be more than $24,000 and a lot of people, that's just not the case," said Travis Mountain, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech's department of agricultural and applied economics.

As people realize this change, it could impact their giving in a number of ways, Wirgau said.

"They might decide to give, but not quite as much," she said. "Or they might decide that they're gonna' give a lot this year but not really give next year."

With an individual goal of raising $10,000, the Montgomery Museum of Art and History is hopeful the tax changes won't impact the giving it relies on to grow.

"Well, we certainly hope it won't," said Farrar. "Our donations are in a lower category, so we don't feel very threatened by that at this point and hope that our loyal supporters will continue to support us in the ways that they have."

GiveBigNRV takes place on April 24. For more information or to donate, visit their website.

The museum is hosting a reception with wine, cheese and live music at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the fundraiser.