As the giving season of one of the most historic years on record comes to an end, we look back on the challenges and victories the charitable sector saw in 2020 and look forward to progress and recovery in 2021.
The temporary universal charitable deduction, which was first signed into law in March as part of the CARES Act and was then extended through 2021 in the relief bill signed by the president late this month, has allowed all Americans an opportunity to take a deduction for at least $300 in charitable gifts of cash. The Charitable Giving Coalition has been working for the past five years to get a universal charitable deduction (UCD) over the legislative finish line, and the inclusion of the UCD in relief legislation – twice – signals both an acknowledgement from lawmakers that the deduction works to encourage more giving, and that growing charitable giving and the charitable sector is critical to civil society especially in the midst of crises of historical proportions.
However, just because we saw some legislative wins this year does not mean the sector is in the clear. The pandemic and its economic effects have caused many nonprofits to cut staff, cut services and even shut their doors temporarily or permanently. We are hopeful recent relief legislation will help some restart their operations and reopen their doors, but the reality is that there are now fewer service providers filling greater needs. The charitable sector must work with lawmakers through the recovery and beyond to ensure our organizations are considered and targeted relief is provided in the future.
Through our Season of Giving Guest Blog Series, we have been highlighting the great work that charitable organizations are doing across the country, especially in the face of the pandemic and its economic fallout. As we look ahead to 2021, we are encouraged by the extreme generosity of these organizations, their donors, and their beneficiaries, and we look forward to working with advocates and lawmakers to advance policies to enhance the charitable deduction and incentivize even more charitable giving.
In recent history, the last day of the year sees more charitable giving than any other day. That means that today, in a year of historic generosity, Americans are likely to open their wallets even wider to support their local communities. And for the first time in more than 30 years, every taxpayer will be able to take a charitable deduction for at least some of their giving. That certainly makes for a hopeful new year.
You can read our Season of Giving Guest Blog Series here: