Dan Moore is a great friend of Hartsook and former senior executive with Guidestar and now the owner of his own consulting practice–cleverly called Dan Moore Consulting.
Dan is the “go to” resource for an understanding of government regulation of both the fundraiser and the fundraising professional in America. I first met Dan at a Blackbaud joint-sponsored program in DC last year. After the first of the year, I need to write a blog on Dan’s view of regulation and how nonprofits need to manage it.
The charitable deduction is at risk. Readers here know that while we are obviously against such a move, we are at least talking about it, unlike so many that put their collective heads in the sand.
Dan told a story that is an old fable, but is pertinent in this context. If you think about breakfast (I am on Weight Watchers, so I think about breakfast all the time) there are two major players in your eggs and bacon: the chicken and the pig. The chicken is involved; but the pig is committed. That is literally “skin in the game.
”Well, for the charitable deduction, we as fundraisers have skin in the game. Thank you, Center on Philanthropy and others who have done analysis of the impact of the President’s tax increase on wealthy people by changing the tax deduction.
They report that about one billion will be lost in the first year and a couple or more in subsequent years. That has been characterized in the nonprofit media as modest. Where were those headlines when giving went down in 2008 and 2009? You would have thought the world was coming to an end when giving went down the same percentages.My point isn’t to take sides here. No, wait . . . I am taking sides. We allow our political leaders on both sides to begin to erode the charitable deduction, and it is a slippery slope to reduced philanthropy in America.
And more important it is naive to be giving up on the deduction loss so early in the debate. One writer with the Nonprofit Quarterly commented, “Since the loss is so modest, is it worth the fight?” As a former lobbyist, I submit that in these early days of a serious debate, that position is a strange one for us to take.
Those who say we should take our share of the cuts are forgetting that the burden of our society is being passed on to the nonprofit world by the government cuts that are taking place.
Finally, this is going to go on for the election year. I don’t see this change occurring before the election and if it did, it won’t impact until 2014. But headlines announcing the deduction has been saved are over stated and premature.
For a couple of days, I’m going to “stick my head in the sand” and enjoy the holidays. But I won’t stay there, and I hope you don’t either. We have a powerful voice on this and other issues. Let’s use it in 2012.