The New Tax Law’s Silver Lining for Fundraising

Author: Cedric Richner, CFRE

The recently passed tax bill is not good for non-profit organizations attempting to raise money.  Make no mistake about that!  Doubling the standard deduction and shielding up to $22 million per couple via the estate tax means that fewer people will consider charity as part of their financial planning.

At the same time, we know that tax incentives are down the list in terms of donor motivations, so all is not lost.

The author Henry Miller said it well: “What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength if faced with an open mind.”  So what is the silver lining for non-profit organizations related to fundraising?

Now more than ever, it is crucially important for non-profit organizations to make a compelling case to prospective donors.  The key is not to harp on the adverse impacts of the tax law, but to extol the virtues of your mission.

The most effective way to do this is to describe your organization’s goals both emotionally and pragmatically by defining the aspirational gap between where your organization is today and where you want it to be in the future.  Sharpen up your case, tell your story, and paint a picture of a better future for the people you serve.

So let’s be strong and open-minded.  More importantly, let’s tell prospective donors how they can create real and lasting positive impact by financially investing in non-profit organizations.