December is all about giving, but this year could be unlike years past

OpEd by Marnie Taylor, President and CEO

My good friend, Mike Turpen, always says “If ya ain’t givin’, ya ain’t livin’!”

This December, I encourage all Oklahomans to give and give generously. The season of giving is especially important for our state. As one of the most generous states in the country, we donate significant gifts to our favorite charities at the end of the year.

This year should be no different. People give for a number of reasons. They believe in the mission. They are asked to give. They give in honor or memory of others. There is a healthy amount of peer pressure from friends. I truly believe that we all should give selflessly to the missions we most care about, the nonprofits that make a difference and the organizations that are most effective in what they do.

One of the reasons people give is that many of us receive some incentive to give – and it’s not just the mug or tote bag. While it’s not in the top five reasons Americans give to charity according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, charitable giving incentives in the form of tax deductions have a very significant impact on gift amounts and gift timing.

Earlier this year, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed our tax code significantly. Prior to its passage, 30 percent of Americans itemized deductions on their returns each year. With the new tax laws and thanks to the doubling of the standard deduction, that number will be reduced to just five percent. The Lilly School of Philanthropy at the University of Indiana predicted that the lack of incentive for giving could have a negative effect on end-of-year donations. They calculated the impact at between $13 and $22 billion.

That isn’t a small amount. My hope is that Americans will continue to give generously regardless of the tax implications at the end of the year. Additionally, I believe that Oklahoma’s generosity will continue to shine as we support our favorite charities this year.

This year, I urge everyone to think about charitable giving as a privilege and a way to give back and create the community you want to live in. I hope you all have a blessed holiday season and a very happy new year.

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