Home & Leisure

On Philanthropy: In 2020, philanthropy will be seriously affected by politics, tax law and climate change

Bruce DeBoskey, Tribune News Service on

Published in Home and Consumer News

As the philanthropic landscape continues to evolve in 2020, expect these meaningful developments.

--Political fundraising will challenge charitable fundraising

2020 is likely to be the most-expensive-ever U.S. political campaign year. Billions of dollars will be donated to national, state and local campaigns. It is projected that media spending alone on U.S. presidential and congressional races will approach $10 billion -- with billions more spent elsewhere.

The demand for campaign contributions will challenge the ability of nonprofit organizations to raise funds needed for critical work at local, national and international levels. By year-end, many donors will be "tapped out" in the political arena and unable to support nonprofits at previous levels. Although political donations are important, we can't forget the critical ongoing work of nonprofits.

--2017 tax law changes continue to limit charitable contributions

Data clearly demonstrate that the 2017 tax law changes adversely impacted 2018 charitable giving.


The income tax law doubled the standardized deduction. At the time, experts predicted that this could reduce the percentage of taxpayers who itemize deductions from 30% to only the wealthiest five percent. Plus, the increased estate-tax exemption eliminated any tax incentive for all but the wealthiest 1,800 Americans to make charitable donations at death.

The data show that Americans itemized a whopping $54 billion less in charitable donations in 2018. In addition, according to Giving USA, in 2019 there was a 1.7% decline in overall giving to charity organizations and a 1.1% decline in the amount donated by individual Americans -- 3.4% less when adjusted for inflation. Most likely, the tax law will continue this adverse impact on giving.

--Issue- and cause-inspired charitable giving will sustain

For the last three years, there has been a surge in issue- and cause-motivated giving across the political spectrum -- with many people contributing time and money to advocacy and policy organizations.


swipe to next page


blog comments powered by Disqus