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The New Tax Bill and YOU

How do you think the new tax bill will affect your contributions this year?

My first thought is “Bummer! I’m likely not going to be able to deduct my charitable contributions from my taxes this year”. And then…, “but, yay on the new, higher, standard deduction!”

So, there it is. Not much of an impact on my giving. The thing is, I don’t give donations so that I can receive a tax deduction. I give because I want to effect change, have a positive impact on my community, give a hand-up to someone that needs it, and to support things I genuinely care about. Chances are your donors don’t give only for the tax deduction either.

How does the 2018 tax bill affect the way we raise money?

Things will stay the same in 2018 in terms of how we fundraise. That means communicating with your audience on the regular.

Defining impact in terms that donors can understand and relate to, and engaging your donors in more ways than simply asking for another gift, are both part of our usual plan.

One thing that does change (should change) in 2018, is that we need to stop telling our donors to give before December 31st in order to receive a tax deduction! It’s not an issue any more. In fact, we don’t know who will benefit from a charitable contribution on their taxes and who won’t. So, let’s stop that last push at the end of the year with that particular singular message, because it won’t work so well going forward.

The end of the year fundraising efforts take place during the end of the year because people are feeling generous and kind during the holidays. We take time to feel our gratitude for all we have and we become more aware of those around us that are in pain. Our empathy meter is at its peak performance. So, there are plenty of reasons to continue to make our asks at the end of the year. Tax benefits are not the reason.

Our donors know about money, don’t you agree? They know how to generate income, they know how to grow it and amass great wealth, and they most likely have advisors that help them keep it as much out of the hands of the IRS as possible. They don’t need us telling them to give in order to deduct. Okay, enough said.

What our donors do need is our gratitude. We need to acknowledge their gifts promptly and efficiently with personalized notes, phone calls or in-person meetings. This is clearly in the category of “what’s ours to do”. Share with your donors the promises you will make and tell them how their gift mattered.

Donors, whether they are in the first-time, mid-level or major gift category, give because they want to support their communities and make their city a better place. They are our friends, neighbors, and colleagues, none of whom you would normally give tax advice. 🙂

Carry on, as normal.

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