AFP Virtual Lobby Week Is Here – Meet with Legislators or Write Letters!
AFP is celebrating April 26 – 30 as our Virtual Lobby Week, with chapters across the United States meeting with members of Congress and their staff to push forward our key legislative priorities for 2021.
AFP chapters and members are asking Congress to support the universal charitable deduction and the IRA Legacy Act, in addition to urging members of Congress to contact the Unites States Postal Service and tell the agency to delay its upcoming nonprofit postage rate increases.
If you’re not participating in these meetings, we will be encouraging you to send letters to Congress about our three key issues throughout the week. Today, Monday, we’re urging U.S. members to write to Congress about the universal charitable deduction. Below is a template letter that you can personalize and email to your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators.
We’ll feature our two other priorities, along with template letters, on Wednesday and Thursday.
Sending Your Universal Charitable Deduction Letter
To find out whom your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators are, along with their contact information, click here and search on your zip code.
You can learn more about the universal charitable deduction and the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act on our issue page. You can also see if your Representative or Senators have already cosponsored the legislation. If they have, you can instead send them a quick email thanking them for already cosponsoring the act and supporting nonprofits in their district or state.
Otherwise, feel free to personalize the template letter below and email it to your members of Congress today! Information in parentheses and italics indicate where you need to choose certain terms depending on if you’re writing to your Representative or Senators.
Dear (Representative or Senator) NAME:
As someone living in your (district/state), I am writing to urge you to support and cosponsor (the House bill is H.R. 1704, and the Senate bill is S. 618), the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act, which expands the universal charitable deduction.
The universal charitable deduction allows any taxpayer, even if they don’t itemize their taxes, to take a deduction for their charitable giving. As the (title) for the (organization) and as a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), I can tell you first-hand how powerful this giving incentive can be.
In March 2020, Congress enacted a $300 universal charitable deduction for cash gifts from nonitemizers for 2020. According to new data from the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy Fundraising Effectiveness Project, there was an 15.3% increase in donations of less than $250 in 2020. Additionally, there was a 28% increase in gifts of $300—the exact amount of the universal charitable deduction—on December 31, 2020 compared to the same date in 2019. While we know there are many factors that contribute to increased donations, one key factor is the availability of the charitable deduction to nonitemizers.
The Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act would increase the current universal charitable deduction limits from $300 for an individual and $600 for a couple filing jointly to one-third of the standard deduction for each category, or roughly $2,400 and $4,800 respectively. The bill could dramatically increase giving and enhance how charities impact our local community.
(A COUPLE OF SENTENCES ON HOW INCREASED FUNDING, ESPECIALLY FROM SMALLER DONATIONS, WOULD HELP EXPAND YOUR SERVICES OR CONTINUE TO PROVIDE CRITICAL FUNDING THIS YEAR.)
Many charities are still suffering from the impact of the pandemic, experiencing both an increased demand for services and a decrease in contributions. In addition, over the past 15 years, research has shown that the share of Americans donating to charity has dropped by 11 percentage points.
We need to reverse this trend and get more Americans giving to charity again, and the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act can help. Please support and cosponsor this bill.