TOPIC/ISSUE: Year-end tax bill passes House, going nowhere
SOURCE: Non Profit Advocacy Matters/National Council of Non Profits, December 21, 2018

SYNOPSIS: The House passed a year-end tax bill on Thursday that, among many other things, would essentially repeal the Johnson Amendment and repeal the tax on nonprofit transportation benefits. The vote was 220 to 183, with three Republicans joining all Democratic Representatives in opposition to the bill. The Senate is not expected to take action on the bill, which is projected to increase the federal deficit by $100 billion over ten years.

  • Anti-Johnson Amendment Provision (Section 507): The bill would permanently remove longstanding protections from charitable, religious, and philanthropic nonprofits that prevent political candidates, donors, and others from demanding partisan endorsements or diverting charitable assets to fund political campaigns. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation determined the provision would cost taxpayers an estimated $7.7 billion in lost revenue over ten years because individuals would divert partisan contributions away from transparent political committees to newly politicized “charitable” organizations that could generate generous tax deductions for the donors.
  • To ensure that Members of Congress understood that the nonprofit and foundation communities stood firmly in their united view that nonprofit nonpartisanship is not negotiable, several national organizations delivered a letter expressing vehement opposition to the anti-Johnson Amendment language in the House tax bill.
  • Tax on Nonprofit Transportation Benefits (Section 505): The legislation would repeal a provision in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (new Section 512(a)(7) of the tax code) that imposes a 21-percent unrelated business income tax on nonprofits for their expenses providing transportation benefits to their employees, such as transit passes and parking. Initially defending the tax as a matter of parity between for-profit and nonprofit employers, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) eventually reversed himself and called for its repeal after the loud outcry from charitable nonprofits, religious organizations, and many other tax-exempt employers adversely affected by the tax. For more information, see the National Council of Nonprofit webpage and the December 17 Letter to Congressional Leadership Urging Repeal of Nonprofit Transportation Benefits.
  • Other Provisions: The legislation also includes sections that would provide tax relief to victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires, create new retirement savings options, delay three Obamacare taxes, reform IRS administration, extend two expired tax breaks for businesses, and correct two drafting errors in the 2017 tax law that are costing businesses billions in unintended taxes. Some of these provisions have broad bipartisan support and may be included in tax legislation early in 2019.”

TOPIC/ISSUE: Apps to help children learn about charity
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal
December 17, 2018, p. R-10, Cheryl Winokur Munk

SYNOPSIS: Teaching younger children to be philanthropic isn’t always easy. But there are digital tools that can help.” Apps discussed include RoosterMoney, Bankartoo, BusyKid, and Gohenry.

SOURCE: Center for Non Profits

SYNOPSIS:  In 2019 as people, communities and institutions continue to count on you, it’s our goal to help you avoid non-profit burnout. Check out our classic blog post, Feeling Burned Out? 7 Steps to Get Back Your NGO Mojo, from Yvette R. Murry, president of YRM Consulting Group. For a limited time, as our New Year’s gift, we also invite you to access for free Yvette’s webinar Put Your Life Vest on First: The Impact of Stress for Non-Profits. (Our recorded webinars are always free for Center members.)

TOPIC/ISSUE: How to keep your donor data safe
SOURCE: The Hubcap, December 31, 2018

SYNOPSIS: Data breaches are an unfortunate part of doing business these days. It seems like every day we hear of a new and increasingly serious cyber-attack, like the recent Marriott breach. While bigger companies certainly make bigger targets, smaller businesses and nonprofit organizations are no less vulnerable. Keeping your donors’ personal data safe is critical to maintaining good relationships, but few nonprofits have a bottomless budget for security. How can you help your donors feel safe and confident without spending all your funds on data protection? It’s simpler than it sounds.

TOPIC/ISSUE: Charities brace for less
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal
November 28, 2018, p. A3, Richard Rubin

SYNOPSIS: The tax law pushed millions of upper-middle-class households from itemizing deductions into a larger standard deduction. That shift could change the annual pattern of …donations that charities count on, and the groups’ leaders are preparing for months and years of uncertainty as taxpayers adjust.

TOPIC/ISSUE: How to run an A/B test
SOURCE: Hub Spot Marketing Blog, December 31, 2018

SYNOPSIS: “When marketers like us create landing pages, write email copy, or design call-to-action buttons, it can be tempting to use our intuition to predict what will make people click and convert.

“But basing marketing decisions off of a “feeling” can be pretty detrimental to results. Rather than relying on guesses or assumptions to make these decisions, you’re much better off running an A/B test — sometimes called a split test.

“A/B testing can be valuable because different audiences behave, well, differently. Something that works for one company may not necessarily work for another. In fact, conversion rate optimization (CRO) experts hate the term “best practices” because it may not actually be the best practice for you.

“But A/B tests can also be complex. If you’re not careful, you could make incorrect assumptions about what people like and what makes them click — decisions that could easily misinform other parts of your strategy.

“Keep reading to learn how to do A/B testing before, during, and after data collection so you can make the best decisions from your results.

“A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a marketing experiment wherein you “split” your audience to test a number of variations of a campaign and determine which performs better. In other words, you can show version A of a piece of marketing content to one half of your audience, and version B to another.

“To run an A/B test, you need to create two different versions of one piece of content, with changes to a single variable. Then, you’ll show these two versions to two similarly sized audiences and analyze which one performed better over a specific period of time (long enough to make accurate conclusions about your results).”

TOPIC/ISSUE: 13 Donor Retention Email Templates
SOURCE: Will from Classy

SYNOPSIS: Whenever you acquire new donors, it’s essential to have a strategic messaging plan in place to follow up. From messages of thanks, storytelling, and impact, our donor retention templates have everything you need to not only inform—but delight. Use these templates to quickly craft emails that share the right balance of information, opportunity, and personality:

  • Tips for when to send specific messages
  • Ideas for types of emails to send
  • Example text for crafting emails
  • How to write a welcome email series
  • The best CTAs for each situation