Protect Giving Day Is A Lobbying Feast

Nonprofit leaders will once descend upon Washington, D.C., in two weeks for the second annual Protect Giving Day, slated for Nov. 20. The event’s sponsor, the Charitable Giving Coalition, is aiming for at least 200 nonprofit and foundation executives to meet with lawmakers regarding tax reform and the preservation of the charitable tax deduction.

“This trip is meant to coincide with the potentially concerted efforts of Congressional tax reform,” said Bob Tigner, general counsel, the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel (ADRFCO). “The idea is for nonprofits to be there as these transactions occur. It’s harder to undo something once it’s been decided.”

The Charitable Giving Coalition, based in Washington, D.C., is an alliance of about 60 nonprofits, foundations and service providers. It was founded in 2009, and launched ProtectGiving.org in April.

President Barack Obama first attacked the charitable deduction in his 2009 budget, when he proposed a 28 percent cap on deductions. The Center for Effective Government in Washington, D.C., estimated that could lead to a drop in giving of between $4.7 billion and $9.1 billion.

Other possible changes to the deduction include eliminating it entirely, capping it at a dollar amount, and replacing it with a 12 percent tax credit. Sen. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) plan of consolidating tax rates to 10 percent and 25 percent could reduce giving by between $6 billion and $11 billion, according to the Center for Effective Government. The Tax Foundation, also in Washington, D.C., estimated that eliminating the charitable deduction entirely would reduce gross domestic product (GDP) by $40 billion, reduce hourly wages by 0.2 percent and cut the equivalent of 131,000 jobs.

Americans took $160.33 billion worth of tax deductions in 2011, according to Internal Revenue Service data. The Giving USA report estimates that individuals gave some $228 billion to charities in 2012, and total giving to charities was approximately $316 billion. The nonprofit sector employs one in 10 U.S. workers, according to the Urban Institute of Washington, D.C.