The U.S. economy’s strength and changes in federal tax policy will strongly influence charitable giving in 2018 and 2019, according to new research from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy presented by Marts & Lundy, a fundraising and philanthropy consulting firm.
“We anticipate that 2018 will be an unusual year for philanthropy, with several competing forces simultaneously shaping the giving environment,” Amir Pasic, the school’s dean, said in a statement.
Certain aspects of the new tax policies may have a dampening effect on charitable contributions, according to Una Osili, an economist and the school’s associate dean for research and international programs. “Conversely, overall improvements in the economic environment will likely bolster charitable giving,” she said.
The report presents three scenarios detailing potential effects of the combination of tax policy changes and broad economic conditions on charitable giving in 2018.
Under the report’s “high growth” scenario, the new tax law would build on the momentum generated from the healthy economy at the end of last year.
It says the loss of tax incentives would dampen giving by some households, but the economy’s performance overall would help offset this, and corporate and foundation giving would remain strong.
Since 2004, giving as a percentage of corporate pretax profits has held steady at 0.8% or 0.9%, excepting 0.7% in 2013, despite changes in the political and economic environment during this period.
Under the new tax law, tax-exempt organizations, including foundations, are required to calculate each trade of business activity separately, rather than in aggregate as previously allowed, for the unrelated business income tax.