A CARES Act Overview
and a Year-end Caveat

Susan E Mangels Senior Vice President Consulting Services at AC Fitzgerald Author

Susan E. Mangels, Ph.D, Senior Vice President of Consulting Services

A recent study notes that 88% of high-dollar donors are committed to giving this year. Even better, some donors have committed to increasing their philanthropic giving. This is great news for nonprofits!

This is likely due primarily to people’s goodwill in challenging times, but the CARES Act does offer some good incentives to those willing to give this year, especially those considering a major gift:

  • High-net-worth households may deduct charitable gifts (cash only) up to 100% of their adjusted gross income, effectively eliminating their federal tax liability in 2020.
  • Non-itemizing donors with more modest incomes (about 90% of all households) can claim a deduction for up to $300 in charitable giving for individuals, $600 for married couples.
  • The rules around the qualified charitable deduction, which allows individuals over 70½ years old to donate up to $100,000 in IRA assets directly to charity, without taking the distribution into taxable income, have been maintained.

Given these incentives, your year-end appeal should make note. Consider simple, brief language like, “To learn more about how the CARES Act can make it easier to help [your organization name] this year, check with your tax advisor.” Or link to an article like this one.

However… it is important to keep in mind that your donors will give because of the work you do, not because of the CARES Act.

To that end, here are three key elements to a successful Year-End Campaign.

  • Donors may give in December, but they don’t give because it’s December (just like they don’t give because of the CARES Act). They give because they find your mission compelling. Your mission is the focus of a successful Year-End campaign.
  • Be sure to link your accomplishments to your donor’s gifts. Donors, compelled by your mission, need to see that their gift will accomplish something towards that mission. They won’t give if they don’t believe their gift will have an impact.
  • Donors give to big ideas and unique approaches. Make sure you show supporters what you uniquely do, and the big picture impact that has in our world. If your donors choose other organizations, even other similar organizations, what will the world be lacking?

Your Year-End campaign is your opportunity to showcase your mission, your accomplishments, and your plans. Remind your donors who you are, then show them what you’ve done – with their support –  and what you will be doing moving forward – with their support. That is the secret sauce to your best year-end campaign yet (even in this strange, dystopian 2020).

If we can help you pull this together, please don’t hesitate to reach out! The year is winding down fast, but it’s not too late for compelling year-end communication.

Susan E. Mangels, Ph.D. serves as Senior Vice President of Consulting Services at AC Fitzgerald. She uses her expertise in fundraising, management, and leadership development to oversee our consulting efforts and deliver exceptional service to clients.

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