Philanthropy Blog: Are you ready for Giving Tuesday? Kicking Off Year-End Giving


As the leaves finish falling from the trees here in New England, and coffee cups of green, red, and blue appear alongside cranberry sauce and stuffing, we are turning our sights to year-end giving and a recurring theme of gratitude. Many donors have been working diligently on their giving lists all year, making gifts of various sizes and complexities. Others use the holiday time to come together with family and focus on what gifts they plan to make or what service activities they would like to do together. As in the past, we share a few year-end giving ideas that can make the holiday time more meaningful, and spread the season of giving throughout the year.

The #GivingTuesday Movement

Giving Tuesday is being celebrated this year on November 27, 2018, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. Now in its seventh year, this “global giving movement” was founded by the 92nd Street Y in New York as a way to focus on giving during the days following Thanksgiving that had been more typically known for in-store and online shopping. It has evolved into a significant online global social movement. In 2017, #GivingTuesday resulted in 2.5 million online gifts which raised $300 million, along with over 2 billion social media impressions for the field of philanthropy and for participating organizations.

Some may want to share #MyGivingStory2018 this year and join this movement. Others may want to share in the spirit by drawing inspiration from the stories of others.

Impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act

Much has been written on the potential impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 on charitable giving. While the full picture might not be known until the data on 2018 tax returns emerges, some studies published since the new law was enacted predict an overall drop in 2018 charitable giving of as much as $22 billion (a 5% drop from 2017 levels). Some reports from the first two quarters of 2018 appear to show a significant drop in charitable giving as compared to 2017. Opinions differ on whether changes in legal tax incentives are truly driving, or will drive, changes in charitable giving patterns, and on whether there will be a significant reduction in charitable giving for the year overall. For example, 2017 was a record year for charitable giving, in part because many tax advisors urged donors to make large charitable gifts at the end of 2017, at least in part to offset the higher 2017 tax rates. A corresponding drop in charitable giving in early 2018 might be a natural consequence of these efforts. Other potential donors may be temporarily holding off on giving in anticipation of “bunching” contributions in future years, or may otherwise be delaying the timing of their gifts, even if they intend to maintain past levels of giving in the aggregate.

My colleague Brad Bedingfield writes in great detail here about these issues, and it’s worth a read as you consider your year-end planning.

Disaster Giving

For many donors, Disaster Giving has become a regular part of their annual giving. From wildfires in California to other natural disasters locally and globally, planning for the unanticipated is now part of the picture. We often turn to strong local partners – including community foundations and pooled giving funds – when disaster strikes. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy is a go-to resource that compiles and vets charities working to provide immediate and long-term disaster relief.

Read more about disaster giving here: How to Help Neighbors and Communities in Time of a Natural Disaster.

Community Service

Serving together: Many individuals and families feel compelled to volunteerism, particularly at this time of year. Coming together in service to give back to those in need can help the next generation feel connected to the more abstract concept of “philanthropy” in a very tangible way. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen, organizing a food drive, or filling a family’s holiday gift wish list are simple activities where those of all ages can make an immediate impact. That can then spark conversations about important community issues, particularly with younger family members.

Implementing Your Giving Plan

We hope this time of year brings you happiness and a feeling of being connected to your community and issues you care about, whether local, national or global and wishing you peace and joy throughout the year. Giving can take many shapes and forms, and we hope this inspires you to do more during the holidays and beyond.

About the Author

Gioia Perugini is Associate Director, Family Office and Philanthropy Services at Hemenway & Barnes. She works with individuals, families, advisors, charitable trusts and foundations to provide a range of philanthropic and client services.

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