by Shelby Holt, Client Services Specialist
November 28, 2020

While 2020 has certainly been packed to the gills with challenges, there are several factors in play that set up exciting opportunities for the giver in each of us this holiday season.

The Numbers
Charitable giving has been on the rise for years, with 2019 seeing the highest full year giving rates to date. Americans gave nearly $450 billion, up 2.4% from the previous year. Individuals made up 69% of the total giving, with corporations covering the remainder. If you had asked me in March if I expected that trend to continue into this year, I would have told you not a chance.

Amazingly, not only did that trend continue, but it accelerated. Charitable giving was up 7%, that’s right seven percent, in the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019. That’s a five-year high, both in the number of donors and the dollar value of contributions. How’s that for a perspective on humanity during times of crisis?

While it may seem as though the world is at each other’s throats, the numbers in this case tell a powerful story of generosity and care for others.

Source: https://afpfep.org/reports/

A Little Help From the Law
In March, lawmakers included a measure in the CARES Act that allows individuals to write off as much as $300 in donations for 2020. Even taxpayers who claim the standard deduction will be able to take a special “above-the-line” deduction for cash gifts to qualified charities. The IRS website provides a searchable database to find charities that qualify here: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search

More information can be found here: https://www.morningstar.com/articles/978878/how-charitable-giving-is-changing-in-2020

Staying Home Means Saving More
With the events of 2020 shifting and disrupting life the way they have, people are going out less, spending less, and many, therefore, are saving much more money.

In fact a number of the clients we serve have reached out recently, wanting to invest sums of money that they originally planned to spend this year. But as their plans were canceled or postponed, that money stayed in their bank accounts and is now looking for a longer-term home. If that describes you, too, please give us a call and let’s discuss the best ways to think about that.

This holiday season loved ones will not be gathering and connecting in the ways they have been accustomed to in the past. While that is not happy news, it is good news for gift giving which could become all the more important to our relationships and sense of connection this season.

As we round out this year, each of us has weathered countless unexpected hurdles and challenges. Generosity towards others offers a silver lining, and a reason for continued hope. If you would like to talk to someone about your plans for giving this holiday season or have questions about where to start, please give us a call. We are here and happy to help.