Year end giving and why this year is so different

Many people are starting to figure this years taxes and see if a donation to a non-profit would help their tax situation. Obviously, Immerse is a legit place where people can donate a tax-deductible gift, but we’ve never had a strong year-end game at Immerse. Some years we have a person here and there donate a couple hundred bucks (which is ALWAYS encouraging) but it hasn’t been a game-changer for us. In fact, in 2017 our donations were below average in December. October and November saw a spike in donations as we ran a few campaigns, including the Give to the Max Day event (happening this year on November 15th). Although we’d love to have people donate their year-end gifts here, we try not to rely on, which is especially good this year since a lot has been happening in the tax-world. Let me explain:

If you don’t know what year-end gifts are all about, here’s my take on it (I’m not a tax expert): The basic idea is that certain donations and expenses can reduce the amount of money that the government will tax you on. Say you make $50,000 but you donated $10,000 this year (or spent tax-deductible dollars like mortgage interest etc.), the government would only tax you on $40,000. That’s the basic idea if you plan on itemizing your deductions. If you plan on taking the standard deduction however (which has likely increased significantly for you in 2018…click here) your taxes will not benefit from doing a year-end donation. For example, you make $50,000 in 2018 and donated $10,000 this year, but the standard deduction for you is $24,000 (married, filing jointly). You would want to claim the standard deduction and the government would only tax you on $26,000. If this is the case, none of your tax-deductible donations would help your taxes since they only help if you are itemizing you deductions.

Watch this helpful video if you want to learn more about the basics of taxes: click here.

Since the standard deduction has increased SO MUCH in 2018, most people would have to give significant amounts of money more this year to make it worth it to itemize their deductions. Obviously this is good for individuals, but it makes things a bit tricky for nonprofits and churches. In short, there is less motivation for people to donate to nonprofits and churches because there is a lower chance that your donations will benefit your tax situation.

At the end of the day, people don’t generally donate to Immerse for the tax benefit (although it’s a nice benefit on the side for some). People financially partner with Immerse because they take personal ownership in it. They want to be part of what’s happening here because they have experienced it personally, seen someone’s life transformed, or have caught the bug/vision. A common phrase we hear from people who have gone through one of our programs is, “You guys are doing something that no one else is doing. This is amazing.” Here at Immerse we are not ashamed to ask for help, support, and prayer because we believe that what we are doing is powerful, transformative, and rare.

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