Elections and giving: Tips for advising your clients

Individuals who are passionate about community causes are frequently also passionate advocates for candidates running for public office. Indeed, according to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans making political contributions has doubled in recent decades, from 6% in 1992 to 12% in 2016. By contrast, the percentage of Americans giving money to charity stands at a new low of 73% in 2020, according to a Gallup poll, down from a previous low of 79% in 2009.
Still, the number of Americans giving to charity each year remains significantly higher than the number of Americans making political contributions. Charitable giving is still going strong, relatively speaking, even in the midst of political frenzy. Indeed, historically, charitable giving is influenced, but not negatively affected, in election years.

With elections top of mind for your clients, how can you best advise them about their charitable priorities? Consider the following:

  1. Share the statistics with your clients. Many clients may not realize that the number of people giving to charity each year is going down, and that community organizations are an important component of the social fabric that helps improve quality of life for citizens.
  2. Remind clients that in the face of uncertainty about potential tax law changes, it is generally a reasonable approach for clients to continue with charitable giving plans as they normally would. Most clients probably don’t “give away a dollar to save 50 cents,” and community needs are as urgent as ever in 2020.
  3. Encourage clients to reach out to the organizations they support to learn about unique needs this year due to economic hardship and the ramifications of the pandemic.

As always, our team is happy to be a resource and sounding board.