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The Ups and Downs of Charitable Giving

By Dr. E. Dale Berkey


When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went into effect, many in the non-profit space believed charitable giving would drop — with the standard deduction for married couples increasing from $12,700 to $24,000. 

The number of Americans who itemize their taxes was expected to fall from about 30% to 10%, causing overall giving to drop right along with it. 

As data from 2018 tax filings is starting to come in, part of this prediction is coming true. According to a new report based on the IRS’s Late May Filing Season Statistics, the proportion of individuals who claimed charitable deductions on their taxes fell to 8.5%.  

However, total giving did not follow suit. 

According to Giving USA 2019, total giving in 2018 remained about the same compared to 2017. At $424.72 billion, it was 0.7% higher than 2017 … and adjusted for inflation, total giving declined 1.7%.  

While there was no large increase in charitable giving as in recent years, the large decline many experts feared didn’t happen — a welcome outcome when considering those donations are going to help people to whom your non-profit is ministering. 

And while the jury is still out on whether the tax act will have a long-term effect on charitable giving, we still need to inform donors of potential ways they can save on their taxes in the meantime, while keeping them connected to God’s call to generosity since He is the one, true Source 

One of the ways your older donors can do this is by giving through their IRA (individual retirement account).  

The current legislation, made permanent by Congress, allows for those 70½ or older to transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA to a qualified charity, without adding a penny to their taxable income.  

The key is making the donation as a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) which arranges for a direct transfer of the amount they choose from their IRA to the qualified charity. 

Because the funds never enter your donors’ hands, giving this way lowers their adjusted gross income, which in turn may also  

  • Lower their tax bracket 
  • Lower their Medicare premium 
  • Lower their federal taxes 
  • Allow them to give a larger gift to your non-profit without being subject to Charitable Gift Deduction limitations 
  • Reduce their state taxes 
  • And more 

All of these benefits are available to eligible donors who connect to your ministry’s vision and believe in the Kingdom work you are doing even if they don’t itemize! 

Questions about donors giving from an IRA? Want to know more about the new tax law’s effect on charitable giving? 

Send me an email at I’d love to hear from you!