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AFP Call to Action: The Universal Charitable Deduction

man doing taxes

The universal charitable deduction can be a powerful incentive to encourage donors, especially taxpayers who don’t itemize their taxes, to give more to charity. The current provision allows non-itemizers to take up to a $300 deduction for their charitable donations.

However, this version expires at the end of 2020 and is generally too small to have a significant impact upon giving. Research shows that an enhanced charitable deduction could increase giving by billions of dollars every year.

AFP is calling on Congress to pass legislation that would increase the cap on the universal charitable deduction to $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for couples. But even this legislation would still sunset the deduction at the end of the year.

So, AFP is asking members to send emails to their members of Congress (your two U.S. Senators and one U.S. Representative), encouraging them to support an enhanced universal charitable deduction and make the provision permanent.

First, identify your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators. 

Use the template letters below and feel free to personalize them as much as you like. There is a letter to use for the Senate, and a similar one for the House of Representatives.

Thank you for participating in the legislative process and contacting your members of Congress. Strong public policy can help the fundraising profession achieve even greater impact, and an enhanced universal charitable deduction can play a critical role.

If you have any questions, contact paffairs@afpglobal.org.



Sample Senator Letter


Dear Senator XXXXXX:

As a constituent who works in the charitable sector focusing on fixing community problems, I urge you to support the universal charitable deduction contained in S. 4032, the Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act.

The universal charitable deduction would allow American donors to take a deduction for their charitable donations, even if they don’t itemize their taxes.

Why is the universal charitable deduction so important right now? Because charities are suffering from the impact of COVID-19. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, charitable donations were down 6% in the first quarter of the year, and 41% of all religious congregations saw a decline in donations since the pandemic began, according to the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

In addition, since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the number of donors who don’t itemize their taxes has dropped significantly—by the tens of millions—which has further led to a drop in donations.

Taken together, these factors have significantly hurt the ability of charities to help our communities meet the challenges of COVID-19 and other needs that continue to exist.

OPTIONAL: INSERT A SENTENCE OR TWO ABOUT GIVING AT YOUR OWN ORGANIZATION AND HOW THE ENHANCED UNIVERSAL CHARITABLE DEDUCTION WOULD BENEFIT YOUR MISSION AND THE PEOPLE YOU SERVE.

The current universal charitable deduction is only $300 for an individual. We need to expand the deduction to $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for joint filers. In addition, S. 4032 would only extend the deduction until the end of the year. Charities must have a permanent universal charitable deduction so we can continue to provide services to help our neighbors and communities in need.

As a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, I know first-hand how important charitable giving incentives are. People give because they want to give—for personal reasons—but how much they give and how often they give is affected by incentives like the charitable deduction. And research shows the universal charitable deduction could increase giving by tens of billions a year.

Please support your charitable community. Please support S. 4032. And please support making the universal charitable deduction permanent!

Sincerely,


 

Sample Representative Letter


Dear Representative XXXXXX:

As a constituent who works in the charitable sector focusing on fixing community problems, I urge you to support the universal charitable deduction contained in H.R. 7324, the Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act.

The universal charitable deduction would allow American donors to take a deduction for their charitable donations, even if they don’t itemize their taxes.

Why is the universal charitable deduction so important right now? Because charities are suffering from the impact of COVID-19. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, charitable donations were down 6% in the first quarter of the year, and 41% of all religious congregations saw a decline in donations since the pandemic began, according to the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

In addition, since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the number of donors who don’t itemize their taxes has dropped significantly—by the tens of millions—which has further led to a drop in donations.

Taken together, these factors have significantly hurt the ability of charities to help our communities meet the challenges of COVID-19 and other needs that continue to exist.

OPTIONAL: INSERT A SENTENCE OR TWO ABOUT GIVING AT YOUR OWN ORGANIZATION AND HOW H.R. 1260 AND A UNIVERSAL CHARITABLE DEDUCTION WOULD BENEFIT YOUR MISSION AND THE PEOPLE YOU SERVE.

The current universal charitable deduction is only $300 for an individual. We need to expand the deduction to $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for couples. In addition, H.R. 7324 would only extend the deduction until the end of the year. Charities must have a permanent universal charitable deduction so we can continue to provide services to help our neighbors and communities in need.

As a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, I know first-hand how important charitable giving incentives are. People give because they want to give—for personal reasons—but how much they give and how often they give is affected by incentives like the charitable deduction. And research shows the universal charitable deduction could increase giving by tens of billions a year.

Please support your charitable community. Please support H.R. 7324. And please support making the universal charitable deduction permanent!

Sincerely,

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