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Donors Look for Outcomes, Not Financial Advice

Why I Recommend Not Recommending Bunching & Bundling

As we near year-end, here’s my advice: Don’t mention “bundling” or “bunching.”

What is Bunching or Bundling?

The concept of philanthropic “bundling” or “bunching” is simple: Donors “bunch” together several years of donations into one year so their itemized charitable deductions exceed the standard deduction allowed by the new tax law, which is $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for couples.

Five Reasons Not to Recommend Bundling & Bunching
I recommend that you not recommend a B&B strategy in some mass fashion, like bulk mail or an all-donors email.

1. Only 30% of tax-payers itemize, according to the Tax Foundation. This includes your major donors. With relatively few people impacted, you could unintentionally create a “wait-and-see” or  “let’s-double-up-this-year” approach. Neither is good for your long-term mission.

2. Giving is often spontaneous. For example, since September 10th, The Red Cross has raised $97 million, in cash gifts along with goods and services, to help Hurricane Irma survivors.

3. Giving is motivated by need, mission, impact, and relationships. Why muddle your message? Highlight how your organization meets needs through generous donations. Connect to donors with both capacity and propensity, and your donations will grow.

4. Charity auctions, where a tax-deduction has never been part of the attraction, remain a top entertainment/revenue source at non-profit events (watch here).

5. Donors depend on us to be knowledgeable, efficient stewards of their generous donations. Say thank you in a timely manner, update donors regularly on their impact, and manage your organization efficiently. Donations will grow!

Next week, I will blog about the fastest growing trend in philanthropy — DAFs!

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