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AFP Statement on President Trump’s 2018 Budget Blueprint

March 17, 2017

The Association of Fundraising Professionals, the largest community of charities and fundraisers in the world, has released the following statement from its Interim President and CEO Jason Lee regarding the release of President Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint:

“The recently released budget blueprint is a very broad document that doesn’t get into many details or refer to charities and fundraising directly. However, we are concerned about the potential indirect impact that the lack of funding for many federal departments and agencies could have on fundraising and philanthropy.

AFP’s focus is on private giving and philanthropy, but significant cuts in federal funding will impact charities who receive government grants and contracts, ultimately forcing them to raise more money from private sources. If government is providing fewer services, then charities will be forced to fill in the gaps, doing more with even less—or else those gaps in services will simply remain unfilled. This comes at a time when demand for charitable services continue to rise, forcing many nonprofits to make every dollar stretch as far as they can.

These proposed cuts make it all the more critical that the charitable deduction is preserved in its current form, and that no negative changes are made to it or other giving incentives. Earlier proposals floated by the Trump Administration and then-candidate Trump, such as an increase in the Pease Limitation for itemized deductions for high-income taxpayers, would have had a significant negative impact on charitable giving, numbering in the billions of dollars. 

The charitable deduction and other incentives not only encourage giving, but also tend to affect the size of gifts and how often one gives. The deduction is also an important symbol of the American tradition of philanthropy and our willingness to help each other. At a time when we need more charitable engagement from a wider breadth of the population, we should be careful about changing or altering the deduction and its impact upon our society.”

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