Will Disincentivizing Charitable Donations Kill the Dying Nonprofit Sector?

Though we haven't yet seen the complete implosion of the nonprofit sector since Wall Street collapsed last year, the philanthropic sector is bracing for increasingly bigger hits.


In addition to the obvious loss of some heavyweight donors--like Lehman and Merrill--and rising taxes for the wealthiest, Americans—you know, the philanthropists—a proposed reduced tax incentive for charitable giving could be the nail in the coffin for a number of formerly well-fed charities.

According to Ron Dzwonkowski of Freep.com, in his $3.6 trillion budget "the president called for cutting the tax deduction for charitable giving by households with incomes of more than $250,000. He would reduce it from a maximum of 35 cents for each dollar donated to 28 cents on the dollar, effective in 2011." Apparently, the plan could increase tax revenue from these households by $318 billion over 10 years. This money would then be put toward health care reform.

This all sounds good for the major project of revamping the health care system, but in the meantime what happens to nonprofits that are providing much-needed services—particularly those that are picking up slack from the current system?

To answer this question, Big Think will sit down next week with Katherina Rosqueta, Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for High Impact Philanthropy. We're eager to hear her thoughts on the potential impact of the new plan. In the meantime, her insights on philanthropic sustainability are particularly germane.

Rosqueta suggests that in order for the nonprofit sector to emerge from the financial crisis intact, it's going to take some some serious discretion on the part of donors. To make good capital allocation decisions, Rosqueta argues that "philanthropists and nonprofits need to look at their 'costs per impact' to understand how much it costs to produce the good they create."

Read more on "philanthropic triage" here.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
  • The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
  • According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less