By Rebecca Rothey, Vice President, Development and Senior Philanthropic Advisor
Well, you’ve made it! You have filed your 2018 income tax returns. You may have even received a modest or larger than expected return and might be considering ways to expand your charitable giving this year.
At The Community Foundation, we always consider how tax law impacts our community’s giving spirit. While many had feared that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act would result in a decrease in giving in 2018, a report prepared by the Blackbaud Institute indicates that overall giving was up by 1.5%. However, this increase was not evenly distributed across the nonprofit sector. Fundraising by large organizations (those raising $10 million or more) was up by 2.3%, while giving to smaller organizations (those with budgets of less than $1 million) was down 2.3%.
There are advantages to giving to larger organizations. Many of our donors have funded breakthroughs in health and education and provided essential support for the arts. At The Community Foundation, we are honored to assist donors who choose to fund these goals as their area of impact.
Yet, we can’t forget that smaller nonprofit organizations are pioneering new ideas and implementing change-making strategies. They are organizations working on challenging social issues with extremely limited resources. They are focused on the local communities they serve, and they can make change based on direct community feedback. They are innovative, idealistic, and hopeful about our society’s future. And they need the funding to realize these dreams.
Our professional staff work locally with thousands of community-based organizations and would be happy to assist you with identifying organizations that match your interests. I also encourage you to visit The Catalogue For Philanthropy, which is supported by The Community Foundation, to learn about such organizations in the region.
As you reflect on what you have learned this tax season, I encourage you to think about how the new law impacted your philanthropy. Many of our donors chose to bundle their giving, either in 2017 to take advantage of the higher charitable income tax deduction, or in 2018 to bundle giving to get above the standard deduction. This consolidated giving provides an opportunity to ask:
What impact do I want my philanthropy to make?
How will I know I’ve made it?
Do I wish to keep supporting the same organizations or find new ones?
Is it time to narrow the focus of my giving?
Should I support large, established organizations or scrappy startups?
When is the right time to involve my children/grandchildren in giving?
As you think through these questions, please consider The Community Foundation staff as a resource to help you identify the best strategies to achieve your charitable goals. Contact a member of our donor services team, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss your goals for impacting our community and beyond.