Today is Giving Tuesday, a day of charitable giving that was developed in recent years to follow Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In a few short years, giving has topped $300 million nationally to national and local charities which are now gearing their publicity and outreach to the event. The Albany Times Union is running two full pages of ads for local charities that paid for them. The ads ran in the paper on Monday and Tuesday. The paper is also running ads on December 13 and 14 for year end donations to charities.
Charities are concerned though about the first year of impact of the federal tax bill passed last year which significantly raised the standard deduction to $24,000. This change is a disincentive to charitable giving since previously, charitable donations were able to be deducted with a lower standard deduction if they were itemized. Now that the standard deduction has been doubled, taxpayers would have to give substantially more money to itemize deductions. And, with the change limiting state income and property taxes to $10,000, there is less likelihood most taxpayers will be able to reach the new $24,000 standard deduction. So, most middle and upper income taxpayers will simply be taking the new standard deduction and giving to charities without a tax benefit. Wealthy taxpayers will still probably itemize if they have been giving substantial amounts to charity.
Despite the threats to fundraising, charities are getting more adept at using email and social media to push for volunteers and donations, setting goals online and promoting the drive. Online fundraising has become the key medium for charities. And political candidates like Beto O’Rourke who ran for the Senate in Texas have proven the ability to raise huge amounts of money online.