Here’s What You Missed…A Lunchtime Two-fer:

February 2018 presenters posing in front of the podiumCan Stewardship Trump Tax Reform?

At AFP SEWI’s February 22 educational luncheon, attendees heard expert insight on something we CAN’T control – how the new tax laws might affect charitable giving – and what we CAN control – how sound donor stewardship can help counter potential disruption.

More than 100 attendees heard from Phillip Miller, a partner in the Private Wealth group of Husch Blackwell, and Christine Baranoucky, VP of Donor Engagement for Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Phillip described many takeaways of the new tax laws:

Standard deduction is being increased, downplaying the importance of charitable income tax deductions
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains a mix of temporary and permanent changes
Everyone will be affected differently
When donors love your mission, tax incentives won’t matter
Access to cash should increase, as tax rates decreased = more cash on hand to give charitably
Retired individuals age 70 ½+ will continue to benefit from donating to charity directly from an IRA
Donors should be reminded that tax laws change frequently, while charitable needs remain constant
Smaller corporations may actually be taxed at a higher level = less cash on hand
Highest level donors may bunch gifts to hit the same tax year and qualify for itemization
Impact on charitable giving will vary depending on age, net worth, and income level
Provide substantiation letters on all gifts

Christine described her experience in developing stewardship programs and provided the following advice on building a stewardship program:

Take the time to assess and evaluate your program - do your homework!
Act on donor feedback and survey your development colleagues
Xtra attention should be given to special donors to allow them to feel like insiders
Envision what could be possible and evaluate as you go
Sustainability and scalability are key to stewardship plans

Following the presentations, attendees crowdsourced their experience by sharing their top donor stewardship stories and practices (available for viewing here).

This session provided a call to action…and clear thoughts on the actions to take. The takeaway is clear -- the new tax laws just make stewardship more important than ever.

--Submitted by Julie Cordero, Development Director – Prevent Blindness Wisconsin