Political Issues Having Effect on Nonprofits

by Marnie Taylor, president and CEO, OKCNP

I cannot believe it is already October. I believe we are all looking forward to a hopefully beautiful fall. Change is definitely in the air.

But with the changing of the leaves our nonprofits are facing a number of challenges based on the incurrent political and social climate in the United States. The upcoming elections and U.S. Census results will have repercussions for years for the nonprofit sector which is why nonprofits are closely following the processes. We have a major general election ahead of us with hotly contested races. Money from donors is pour into campaigns this fall, potentially having an effect on charitable giving. Get-out-the-Vote campaigns are underway, and we have only a short time left for voter registration. Mail-in voting has been a significant topic in the news because of the fulfillment problems with the U.S. Post Office. Needless to say, the elections will dominate the news for the next several weeks.

And of course, the Census is wrapping up in days. Oklahoma, in particular, has been struggling with its response rate. Two weeks ago, the national director of the U.S. Census Bureau visited Oklahoma and relayed they had dispatched more than a hundred extra enumerators as part of our sprint to the finish. I will be anxious to see how the response ends.

With all of the political issues happening seemingly at once, and Americans going into a seventh month of the Pandemic, nonprofits have many hurdles ahead. One of those is another stimulus package from the federal government. There have been a number of starts and stops over the past three months on various plans. In the moment I write this, the House has released a $2.2 trillion package that will have nonprofit relief as part of the bill. Nonprofit clientele are in need of further stimulus, particularly unemployment benefits, direct payments and continued student loan relief. While the student loan relief was extended through the end of the year, the others will require legislative action. With further COVID relief needed, I also know the Supreme Court confirmation process is already underway and will take much of the Senate’s energy in the next several weeks.

Most importantly, nonprofits continue to need stimulus of their own. More direct cash could help organizations stabilize during a challenging year of fundraising. Fair and equitable contracting along with more money for operations and loosening of restrictions will also give nonprofits relief. Sen. Lankford has continued to push for greater deductibility of charitable gifts to encourage more personal philanthropy from Americans.

It is my hope that not only nonprofit leaders, but that all community and business leaders will let their policy makers know that now is a crucial time for nonprofits and the people we serve. We know that elections and other political factors will be a distraction, but the hour for nonprofit support is upon us.

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