Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University brought together 11 experts to share their thoughts about philanthropy trends.
• How can funders help nonprofits to cope with or capitalize on these trends? Does your giving need to change with the times?
Michael Moody: The Boundaries Are Blurring Between Philanthropy and Business
The increasing blurriness of sector boundaries is undeniable, and more and more people are embracing the potential good that more open sector borders might create. This is especially true for the boundary between for-profit and nonprofit, between the business and philanthropic sectors.
Tamela Spicer: As Religiosity Changes, Donor Engagement Needs to Adapt
Although religious giving continues to hold strong, growth has slowed to less than one percent annually in the past few years (Giving USA, 2018). At the same time, we are experiencing a surge in the number of people who do not identify with any particular religious tradition, including those that self-identify as atheist or agnostic (Pew, 2012). These “nones” now represent some 23 percent of the population in this country (Lipka, 2015).
Kyle Caldwell and Donna Murray-Brown: For Nonprofits, the Tax Landscape is Far From Settled
When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law December 22, 2017, it was the most comprehensive tax overhaul seen in decades. The updates, which took effect January 1, 2018, included a range of provisions that affect the way nonprofits identify and calculate their tax liabilities.
However, the true impact of these changes remains to be seen. Many nonprofits and sector advocacy organizations have spent 2018 struggling to understand, explain, and prepare for these changes. Whether and how the doubling of the standard deduction will drive down giving by Americans who no longer benefit from itemizing their taxes (and taking advantage of the charitable deduction) remains a question. And whether the TCJA will continue in its current from through 2019 is still unclear.
Giving in the United States has now topped $400 billion. Countless community and national organizations are benefiting from a surge in public interest and a growing conviction that renewing our democracy will require that we work together. The entire ecosystem of philanthropy — nonprofits, foundations, donors, and volunteers — is rallying to the cause of civil society and cross-sector collaboration.