Don’t Let Hillary (or Rudy or Barack or …) Steal Your Donors
■ Charities won’t flip-flop on their donors. Most people are motivated by one issue, whether it’s the economy, education or reproductive rights, and they select and support candidates who believe as they do on that issue. But how does anyone know that candidates, when elected, will care as much about the issue as they claim to today?
Quite simply, people can’t. But what are the chances that an advocacy charity will make the same flip-flop? Absolutely none. The charity has a record of supporting that issue and makes its living from that continued support. Advocacy groups are not beholden to special interests; they are the special interest. If donors truly care about an issue, the one they can truly trust to work on their behalf is the charity that shares their values.
■ Charities are in it for the long haul. Once the election cycle ends, the losers will go home and the winners will celebrate. Many of the campaign’s issues will go back on the shelf until the next cycle begins.
But for charities, the day after the election will be just another day, a day to do their jobs and to try to make the world a better place.
■ Campaign deductions aren’t tax-deductible. Federal law recognizes a basic principle of economics in its support of charities. Charities provide a public good, and it therefore is in the interest of our society to support them. Accordingly, all donations from people who itemize on their taxes can be deducted. Donations to candidates, however, are not tax-deductible. Supporting a candidate is no different than buying a bottle of wine, except one can predict more readily the results of consuming wine.
The 2008 elections are important, and the candidates undoubtedly will have differing views on vital issues. But the candidates are going to run for election whether Americans support them financially or not. In 2008, charities need to persuade their donors to vote with their ballots, not their checkbooks, and save their money for the entities that can do the most with it — America’s charities. FS