The year 2020 has been a challenging one for charities. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected almost every part of the economy, has also negatively impacted the amount of charitable giving. Factors contributing to this decline include the inability of charities to raise money through live fundraising events, which many of them rely on, and the drop in charitable contributions because many individuals and businesses have less money to donate due to increased unemployment and the sagging economy. But, not all charities are affected in the same way. As Robert F. Sharpe, Jr. notes in his article, “Five Factors That Impact How COVID-19 Affects Philanthropy,” p. 20, how charities are affected depends on different factors, the most important of which is the mission of the charity. For example, he notes that health-related organizations that are involved in curing or preventing the physical harm caused by COVID-19 appear to be seeing less impact on their funding than organizations with other types of missions.
Another challenge that charities face is the uncertainty regarding the tax implications of giving, as the laws may change if there’s a change of administration after the November election. In “Bracing For Major Disruptions,” p. 16, Christopher P. Woehrle discusses the various proposals being floated about and suggests some strategies to use in the meantime. And, in “Charitable Tax Planning in an Uncertain Coronavirus and Tax World,” p. 28, Conrad Teitell, Stefania L. Bartlett and Cara Howe Santoro review the changes that have already been made that impact charities and give some ideas of what the future may look like.
Here’s hoping that by 2021 (if not sooner), we can all safely attend live fundraising and other events!