For the first time in history, fundraisers and nonprofits can’t take for granted that the charitable deduction will be in place for its donors.Let that sink in for a minute.Now, let’s talk. If you receive $60 gifts, your nonprofit will probably not feel it. But if you get $1,000 gifts, you probably will.For too long the fundraising profession has sat on the sidelines of public policy. An unfortunate positive outcome of this attack on the deduction is that it is motivating nonprofits and those who believe in the nonprofit role in our society to mobilize. I have said for years that regulation will ultimately unify America’s fundraising professionals.Well, I know at the highest levels, AFP, CASE, AHP and many others are organizing to make sure Congress and the President understand the incredible damage this will cause our country at a time when more and more government is shifting to the private sector.Our friends at the Center on Philanthropy issued a report a couple of years ago when the President first presented this idea (he has proposed it three more times and it is in his jobs bill). Clearly, the nonprofit sector has not convinced him of the harm.The Center on Philanthropy indicated in their study that eliminating the charitable deduction would diminish giving by over $6 billion. The economy has already reduced giving over $20 billion, according to many other sources.While Hartsook would argue that giving and major gift giving will continue, it is going to cause a pause by donors. Once the deduction has been decreased in any way, it is a slippery slope.This is a time for you to make sure you know where those groups of influence are on this challenge.Where does your Board stand? Where does your staff stand? Do they understand the impact of this change on their lives?Have you formed an opinion?Better get one.
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