I always worry during December about year-end donations. I can't help it my fundraising minds is completely aware that more gifts are made between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve. This is the giving season for two reasons it is tradition to make gifts to non-profits just like we give gifts to our friends and family and for tax reasons. The first reason still holds true. Some people give because they care about your cause. The tax reason isn't as true anymore. In case you didn't get the memo the New Tax Reform law doubled the personal tax exemption. What does that mean well if someone made a gift to lower their taxable income they may not need to make that gift anymore.
Research estimates that 13.1 billion or 4.6% will be lost to charities the year because of the new tax law and most of that will "not" show up in the next few weeks. If you are curious about how this might affect your organization one way to estimate how much of your 2017 donations were "tax" dollars. Run a report that compares the date of a check with the day that it was processed. Now, this assumes that you leave your books open past 12/31 to let the mail catchup. If you keep the organization's books open until mid-January for checks dated by 12/31 you can simply add up the gifts that came in during that period. I call this the "tax period."
This number will give you an estimate of what might not come in. It might be a pretty big number. For one organization I know it the number was over 50k. The scary part is that you will not know what donations will come in until you close your books for 2018 if you are on a calendar year fiscal year. If you are lucky enough to have a June 30 or some other end date for your fiscal year you have time to try and renew those gifts.
I have been telling anyone who would listen especially my Executive Director, Director of FInance and board that we might not make our goal because of the change in the tax law. If you are in this position, I hope you have been telling everyone as well. Of course, we may be surprised, and the gifts will come - but I doubt it.
Do you use video? How successful have you been? Here are some examples of successful videos from Nonprofit Tech for Good.
It Occurs To Me
I am thinking a lot about trauma. We hear about trauma training at our organizations, but what about in our jobs. Fundraising is a career that is filled with trauma-creating practices. We also have to think about the life trauma we bring to the job. Look out for several articles and possibly a session at a fundraising conference soon.
Please leave a comment, thoughtfully.