Since the new tax reform bill went into place, I have had many people ask me how I think the new law will impact nonprofits and ministries. And while I haven’t read the pages and pages of law, there will be some impact to the field.
Over the past several weeks I have had people tell me that they will no longer be able to fundraise, that it will not make sense for anyone to contribute to organizations since they will no longer receive a tax deduction. I have had others say that now because of the increased tax breaks that wealthy people will be able to give more.
Honestly, I don’t know if any of that is true, but what I do know is that we need to think about how we do fundraising and the reasons people give to our ministries and nonprofits.
The old tax law gave incentives to people to make donations to nonprofits and ministries. And, as a result, people were often willing to give $25 here and $50 there to support an organization. But, really, these gifts did not demonstrate that there was a relationship between the individual and the organization. Instead, giving was just a transaction.
For ministries and nonprofits, we need to look deeper than the transactional relationships that have occurred in the past. It is our hope that those who give are giving from their hearts. The Bible tells us that our actions are a reflection of our hearts and giving is a reflection of our heart condition.
So, there may be people who no longer contribute to your organization because they no longer have the same financial incentive to do so. But, we have to believe that for nonprofits and ministries that are fulfilling the vision God gave the founder that there is more…that donors give because they are connected to the organization through their hearts.
As ministry and nonprofit leaders, we have a responsibility to minister to the hearts of those who support our work.
Going forward, we might need to look at fundraising differently. We need to connect with the hearts of our donors. Below are several key ways to connect:
- Tell stories. I have said it over and over, but it is true. Donors like stories and remember them. Stories of change in the lives of real people connect with the hearts of those who hear and read them. Your organization needs to put a significant emphasis on the collection of stories going forward.
- Use social media to stay connected. By now, I am sure you realize that many people are active on at least one social media platform. Use social platforms to stay connected throughout the year—even when you are not asking for money. This is going to require regular and consistent posting.
- Get your audience involved in your work. Everyone can do something, it may require some creative brainstorming but find ways to get people involved. People who are active participants in the work of an organization are more likely to become regular and consistent donors. (Remember, we give out of a reflection of what is in our hearts).
At this point, do not lead with fear. The changes to the tax law are not a surprise to God, and to be honest, if your organization is living out his mission, he really doesn’t need our money. We just get an opportunity to participate in ministry with him through our giving.
Continue staying focused and true to your mission and to God’s leading. Seek out wise counsel. Develop an effective communications plan that includes looking at your website, your social media platforms and your print materials.
Work like it depends on you but pray like it depends on God.
Sweet blessings to you my friends.