A Parachute For Your Trip Over The Fiscal Cliff

I’m not sure what exactly will happen on January 1, 2013, should our esteemed elected officials in Washington, D.C., fail to pass some sort of legislation to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”  We are told that taxes will be increased, at least for those making over $250,000 per year.  We are told that large spending cuts will be enacted in all kinds of important federal programs.  We are told the U.S. economy may fall into another recession.  But I’m not sure when (or if) any of that will happen.

What I am sure of is that conversations about capping or doing away with charitable gift deductions in the federal tax code are serious.  I’ve been hearing and reading too much from both sides of the political isle to dismiss the seriousness of the discussions.  If a deal gets done to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” capping charitable gift deductions may be part of the solution.

Your donors are reading the same stories of unknown consequences and they are responding.  And according to some recent research donors are giving more at the end of 2012 to lock-in their charitable giving deductions before they possibly get taken away in 2013.  So, what does mean for us?  Well, for starters, it should suggest an opportunity.

During your end of year push, are you reaching out to your donors and alerting them to the option of “locking-in” their charitable giving deduction by increasing their giving in 2012?  A simple email with a link to a story about donors increasing their giving (like the one above) would suffice.

By educating your donors on how other donors around the country are responding to the uncertainty of the “fiscal cliff,” you are providing them with an important educational service.  You also, of course, are encouraging increased giving to your institution at the end of the year.  Even if our political officials don’t lead us over the cliff (but especially if they do), having encouraged more giving prior to the end of 2012 is in the best interests of everyone involved.


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