Each year, millions of Americans send money to support organizations who give people a boost. We are fortunate to live in a country with a giving tradition. We are equally fortunate to be served by nonprofits who have demonstrated tenacity and commitment and ingenuity to make sure that help which is on the way ends up where it is needed. Many of us remember the hand that was placed on our own shoulders. All these reasons add up to foundations, corporations and individuals giving over nearly $428 billion last year. https://givingusa.org/giving-usa-2019-americans-gave-427-71-billion-to-charity-in-2018-amid-complex-year-for-charitable-giving/
A troubling sign has emerged for the first time since the great recession. Even though the total level of giving slightly increased, the number of individual givers has fallen by 3.4%., according to an all new report by the Giving Institute. Many of those who stopped giving are retirees or those with middle or lower incomes. This underscores the value of older Americans bolstering their giving by “Boomeranging” their discounts
Undoubtedly, there are as many reasons one stops or decreases their giving as there were reasons to start in the first place. Unfortunately, there is one new rationale for stopping that is a warning sign for the fiscal health of America’s nonprofits. Part of the reason for the giving decline is the 2017 tax reform law passed by Congress. The law increased the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly to $24,000. This dramatically decreased households itemizing their deductions from over 64 million to 18 million.
Charitable contributions can be itemized. Someone in the 25% tax bracket would see tax reductions of $750 if they made $3,000 in donations. The important thing to remember is that donors vary as to whether the tax incentive is any factor at all in their giving. Some prefer to not think about a tax break at all, even when they are giving while it hurts. However, it is clear that as many as several hundred thousand taxpaying couples do care. The fact that they have at least temporarily walked away from charitable giving is an event that must not be taken lightly.
Since the tax law is not going to be changed in the near future, we have no choice but to think of ways to close the giving gap. People who would benefit from a boost are going to get less help over time if we allow the ranks of givers to diminish.
That’s where Boomerang Giving comes in. We can give a little bit at a time by redirecting our senior discounts for support of nonprofits who are serving people. That way we can to the stability of the nonprofits that mean so much to our communities.