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What the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Means to Your Nonprofit

By | Tax | No Comments

President Donald Trump signed the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017, that went into effect January 1, 2018. The provisions of the act impact individuals, businesses, corporations, and nonprofits, with certain provisions having moderate to significant impact on nonprofits.

Major Changes to Taxes, Summarized

Clearly, a detailed analysis of the implications of all that is contained within the new law is outside the scope of this article. However, there are major points which are important for all to note. These include:

  1. All the changes that affect individuals expire in 2025.
  2. New tax tables and rates are in effect from 2018 through 2025.
  3. The system for taxing capital gains and qualified dividends did not change under the act, except that the income levels at which the 15% and 20% rates apply were altered (and will be adjusted for inflation after 2018).
  4. During 2018 the 15% rate will start at $77,200 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $51,700 for heads of household, and $38,600 for other individuals. The 20% rate will start at $479,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $452,400 for heads of household, and $425,800 for other
  5. The standard deduction increased through 2025 for individual taxpayers to $24,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $18,000 for heads of household, and $12,000 for all other individuals. The additional standard deduction for elderly and blind taxpayers was not changed by the
  6. The act repealed all personal exemptionsthrough 2025. The withholding rules will be modified to reflect the fact that individuals can no longer claim personal

For a complete breakdown of the act’s changes, see this document from the National Association of Tax Professionals.

Changes to Charitable Contributions

The good news for nonprofits is that the act increased the income-based percentages limit for charitable contributions of cash to public charities to 60%. The act repealed  a prior-law provision that had never been put in effect because regulations were never issued. The provision that provides an exception to the contemporaneously written acknowledgment requirement for certain contributions that are reported on the organization’s return.

With the news that the act increased income-based percentages limits for contributions of cash, now might be a great time to increase your donor outreach and relations programs. Although tax savings may be a small incentive to donors in the bigger scheme of things, with items such as mission and services more important to donors, it may incentivize donors who are on the fence about giving to your organization.

Remember that any changes in the tax laws impact disposable income for consumers. These changes may make potential donors feel more inclined to give, as a little extra cash hits their paychecks and wallets. This also underscores that now is the right time to increase donor relations programs.

Are further changes expected? The Tax Cuts and Job Acts was a major move by the Trump Administration and a sign of their intention to keep campaign promises. It is unknown what further actions the President may take especially as they pertain to nonprofits and charities. However, given that these changes will be in effect until 2025, it is certain that nonprofits can move forward at least for the next several years with a better understanding of the current taxation situation.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Five Super Fundraising Tips to Boost End of Year Giving

By | Fundraising, Nonprofit | No Comments

It’s “pumpkin spice everything” season and autumn leaves are falling in many parts of the country. As the pumpkins appear on doorsteps and leaves tumble from trees, you know that the end of the year – and possibly the end of your organization’s fiscal year – is right around the corner.

With that deadline looms the specter of fundraising goals. Will my organization achieve its goals for the year?

These five “super fundraising” tips can propel your organization’s donations into hyperdrive and help it achieve its annual fundraising goal. Each can be implemented on its own. Together, it forms a solid strategy for boosting donations and getting you one step closer to your annual financial goals.

  1. Participate in Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday (#givingtuesday) is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving always takes place on the third Thursday of November in the United States. This annual event began in 2012 as a response to the growing commercialism and consumerism surrounding the Christmas season. It’s a day when nonprofit organizations see a significant surge in their donations. In 2017, approximately $274 million was donated as part of #givingtuesday with $45 million raised through Facebook alone. Begin a #givingtuesday campaign by revamping your donor page, adding plenty of social media posts with the hashtag #givingtuesday to your social media roster several weeks ahead of the event, and alerting your donor list that you are participating.

  1. Amazon Smile

Amazon is a retail giant with approximately 197 million shoppers visiting the site monthly. The Amazon Smile program lets those shoppers choose a participating nonprofit organization to which Amazon donates a portion of  that shopper’s sales. With the slogan, “Customers shop. Amazon gives,” the program offers an easy way for people to donate to your organization. Set it up at the link above and encourage donors and friends of your organization to choose your nonprofit as the recipient. Do this now so that all people who shop Amazon for Christmas presents can opt into Smile and contribute to the fundraising activities of your nonprofit.

  1. Update Your Nonprofit Profile

Your “About” page, website, and external pages such as social media profiles and others should all be supporting your fundraising goals. Make sure they are all in alignment around your messaging, branding, and images. Be sure to update your IRS profile too.

  1. Update your GuideStar profile

GuideStar offers potential donors a neutral third-party site that provides factual information on nonprofits. Many people, jaded by too many stories in the media of nonprofits spending money irresponsibly, prefer to research a nonprofit before donating. If your GuideStar profile isn’t up to date, it may be a deterrent for donations. Update your GuideStar profile as soon as possible and pencil it on your calendar for annual updates.

  1. Update Your Facebook Page

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a must-use platform for nonprofits looking to reach the largest potential audience. More than 1 billion people use Facebook, or fully 1 out of every 7 people in the world today. Almost nowhere else in the world can you reach so many potential donors and constituents. Be sure to update your Facebook profile and post often. Share pictures, stories, and inspirational ideas that support your nonprofit’s mission. A good rule of thumb is to make 80% of the posts informational and inspirational and 20% donation related.

We’re approaching the most wonderful time of the year when peace on earth and goodwill to all reigns worldwide. Now is the time to tidy up your nonprofit’s online presence and image so that you can help your organization achieve its mission, by maximizing donations.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Fundraising Technologies that Help – Not Hinder – Your Growth

By | Fundraising, Technology | No Comments

You’re forgiven if you’re a little skeptical about the latest technology. We know the phrase “paperless office” is probably playing through your mind, but seriously, technology can help, not hinder, your nonprofit’s ability to grow.

The right fundraising technology makes it easier to connect with donors and encourage them to donate in support of your nonprofit. Here, we cover four new technologies or technology-assisted ideas that can boost fundraising activities and help your nonprofit reach its goals.

Four Technologies or Technology-Enhanced Ideas for Fundraising Growth

These four fundraising ideas incorporate technology or utilize technology for growth. Although some of them may sound far-fetched, they can all be implemented by even the smallest nonprofits.  These ideas benefit your organization’s growth and also benefit your constituents by making it easier to donate.

  1. Dedicated Online Fundraising Pages

Dedicated online fundraising pages are a lot like landing pages used in traditional marketing. These are pages set up specifically to encourage people who visit the page (“land” on the page) to donate.

In order to encourage donations, make sure that:

  1. Your page is clearly branded with your nonprofit’s logo, messaging, colors and images.
  2. You align your nonprofit to outcomes. Who are you helping and what will the donation do? Show pictures, tell stories, but make the outcomes come to life for anyone visiting and potentially donating to the nonprofit.
  3. Make checkout easy and friendly.
  4. Offer opportunities for both a lump sum gift and monthly giving.
  5. Ask people to opt-in to your mailing list to keep in touch.

 

  1. Text-to-Give

You’ve probably seen these campaigns during hurricanes or other natural disasters when major disaster relief services run them. “Text 12345 to give” enables people to give quickly from their mobile phone using a simple text message. It’s a great use of technology to make giving fast and simple and it taps into the population’s increasing dependence on their mobile phones.

  1. Fund-a-Need Programs

Fund-a-Need programs raise money for a specific need. Such needs may include a new roof on a building, or  new buildings, etc. Be specific in the need and in the fundraising goal. Establishing a special fundraising page for these campaigns and utilize social media to get the word out.

  1. Accept Bitcoin Donations

Bitcoin, Ether, LiteCoin, DodgeCoin and other cryptocurrencies can be accepted as donations. You’ll need to set up a special electronic wallet with a firm like Coinbase that enables you to receive cryptocurrency into the wallet and exchange it for dollars or another fiat currency. Many young people like using cryptocurrency. By accepting it as a payment or donation method, you’ll appeal to a specific techno-savvy group who may have money to share but prefer not to share dollars.

Why Try These Methods?

Nonprofits must keep up with technology trends the same way that for profits do. These trends impact your donors and can potentially make a big difference to your bottom line if implemented wisely.

You don’t need to become proficient at dozens of technologies. Implement one idea at a time. As you grow more comfortable with each innovation, you’ll be able to add more until your organization is up to speed with the latest technology.

The more routes or avenues you can open for potential donors, the better. Making it easy to say “yes” to a request and donate dollars or bitcoin will help your nonprofit organization flourish. Now is the time to embrace tech-savvy ideas for a brighter future.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Giving Tuesday Is Coming! Here’s How to Prepare for a Successful Giving Tuesday

By | Donations | No Comments

Giving Tuesday, often referred to by its hashtag #givingtuesday, occurs the first Tuesday after the American Thanksgiving holiday (and for those in other countries, American Thanksgiving is always the third Thursday in November).

Started in 2012 by the United Nations Foundation and the New York City 92nd Street Y, Giving Tuesday began as a grassroots effort or “hashtag movement” to counteract the gross commercialism that often occurs on Black Friday. It’s not uncommon in the United States for eager Christmas shoppers to push, shove, and generally behave  rudely in their quest for cheap goods on the first official shopping day of Christmas. Sad, but true.

These charities began the Giving Tuesday movement in an effort to focus people on the more positive message of giving back to their communities. Instead of crass commercialism, the emphasis is on charitable giving. And that’s good news for your organization if you can leverage the momentum of Giving Tuesday.

In 2017, the last year for which figures are available, approximately $274 million was raised in total, with $45 million raised through Facebook donations.

Your nonprofit can ride the surge of donations generated through the hashtag campaign by ensuring an easy way for people to donate. A little preparation now may result in a surprise on #givingtuesday.

Revamp Your Donation Page

Don’t wait until the night before Giving Tuesday to update your donation page. Take the time now to make sure it’s as enticing as possible.

  1. Update your branding. If you’re using PayPal or a similar payment service, customize your checkout pages and thank you pages. Add your nonprofit’s logo, slogan, URL and any other information to remind donors that their donation is making a difference.
  2. Remind donors of your impact. Another great use of the donation page is to remind donors of the impact that your organization makes on the constituents you serve. An animal nonprofit may wish to include a link or stories, photos and other media showcasing their work with animals their charity helps. The best time to remind donors of the impact that their generosity makes is at the time they’re giving. It reinforce their feelings of good will and strengthens the bond between your organization and the donor.
  3. Add monthly giving options. Sure, a one-time donation is great, but what about monthly giving options? You may be able to add monthly giving options so that donors can choose to give in regular increments rather than in one lump sum.
  4. Make it friendly: Make sure that your page can be easily read by multiple devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Responsinator is a free tool that allows you to see how your webpages look on mobile devices.

Don’t Be a Stranger

One of the best ways to leverage your participation in #givingtuesday is by letting your constituents know ahead of time. Start several weeks before the promotion to let your donors know that your nonprofit is participating in the event. As the date draws near, send more frequently emails. A good sequence is a thank you message on Thanksgiving; email reminders on Sunday and Monday; and a big announcement email on Giving Tuesday.

Incorporate Social Media

Giving Tuesday is a social media-driven campaign; be sure you’re actively participating on social media in the time period leading up to the actual day. Update your social media banners and set up automated messages using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to make it even easier to keep a steady stream of messages flowing to your constituents.

Remember to use the hashtag #givingtuesday on all posts related to the big donation day. People searching under that hashtag can see your posts; it will show up in the results for the hashtag search. That’s another great way to reach potential donors!

Giving Tuesday, One Great Day Among 365 Other Donation Opportunities

Giving Tuesday is a great event – but so are the remaining 364 days in the year. Every day is an opportunity to connect with donors and raise awareness for your nonprofit. In fact, many of these tips can (and should) be implemented year-round as part of your fundraising and marketing activities.  With a little planning and follow-through, you can expand upon the idea of “giving Tuesday.”

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.