Taxes… taxes… taxes… + donations

December 20, 2017

With an incredibly unpopular and potentially damaging tax bill barrelling into our lives, here are a few things to consider regarding your year-end fundraising.

First, the most recent stats show that only 30% of Americans itemize their deductions. This means that 70% of the people who receive your appeals do not care about tax deductibility or the impact of the new bill in regards to their donation choices.

Second, despite potential future changes, none of what’s happening now will change the tax scenario for 2017. For donors who do itemize, things for now are still status quo.

Third, while you may wish to test this yourself, when LKA has tested year-end messages that lead with a tax pitch vs. messages that lead with mission – the mission efforts win handily in every case. Year-end giving is so much more than taxes. It’s a tradition and season of doing good for things we care about. Stick with your strength.

Fourth, if you do attempt to make note of impending tax changes, you risk complicating your message, lowering your response, and potentially giving unqualified tax advice that could place your organization in a troubling position.

Finally, a number of articles are cropping up that tout the strategy of giving more this year to shore up what may negatively impact donor tax rates next year. Be careful about sharing this advice with your donors. Especially if your organization relies on federal funding, or believes that the tax bill will damage America or the work you do, this advice will basically help make things worse.

Overall, in these alarming and unprecedented times for our nation, the best thing we can all do as nonprofit leaders and fundraisers, is move forward passionately with strong, mission-centered appeals.

The generosity and caring of Americans may be the only thing that carries us through.