U.S. based fundraisers are about to face what could potentially be two of the most seismic shifts in the fundraising landscape in decades, changes to:
- Federal-level tax deductions for philanthropic gifts (donors might still be able to itemize, but only if their overall deductions exceeded the new $12,000 per individual and $24,000 per couple standard deductions).
- Estate tax laws (doubling the exemption to $11 million per person, $22 million per couple).
The potential impact of these changes has been chronicled in numerous articles, e.g.,
New U.S. Tax Law Could Curb Charitable Donations, Reuters, November 30, 2017
Nonprofits Hunt for Win after Dismal Lobbying Results, The Chronicle of Philanthropy
In reality, change comes to all of us, some which we seek (such as a new hair style), and some which is thrust upon us (see 3 Facts About Change and 1 Point to Ponder). In some cases changes are small, incremental at best, and have little impact. Other changes are like an earthquake rending and shifting the landscape.
Knowing that a seismic shift in the fundraising is on the horizon what is a fundraising professional to do?
- Breathe – In How Successful People Stay Calm , Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, encourages us to breathe, breathe in and out and in and out.
- Consider points which I made in this LinkedIn post Jack Be Nimble (Jill Too): 5 Steps to Lead Through Change (not on LinkedIn this post is here in my blog). On this point consider this quote from Tony Robbins: “Discipline Your Disappointment.”
It’s Ok to be disappointed and even discouraged for a bit. However, fundraisers know that donors are motivated to give by far more than a tax deduction (not one of the 14 reasons listed in this Network for Good article about why donors give has to do with taxes).
Have you breathed yet, disciplined your disappointment and resolved to move forward? Here are three next steps you can take:
- Give Thanks – This year make calls to more donors to thank them for year-end gifts. Don’t ask for another gift, but also don’t be surprise if the conversation leads to a second gift.
- Start with the End In Mind — As I said to a room full of nonprofit executives and volunteers last week when speaking about how to Fuel Your Fundraising Using 5i’s, “if you took no other step, tell donors compelling stories about the impact that their gifts have on the lives of those served by your nonprofit.”
- Find a compelling quote and send it to online donors.
If you are at a faith-based nonprofit you might send this qoute: Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. — Hamilton Wright Mabie
If you work at another type of nonprofit you might consider this: The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness.– Helen Keller
May your heart be touched by beauty this holiday season and may that beauty sustain you as you move into the new year.