Philanthropy In 2017 Saw The Rise Of Trump-Powered Giving
The Trump administration’s efforts to deregulate industry, enforce Muslim bans, oppose abortion, and deny climate change have inspired a new charitable term. It’s dubbed “rage philanthropy”–when you’re giving is aimed at protecting whatever basic rights and values the president trivializes.
Here’s one example: When Trump announced his Muslim travel ban in late January, rage philanthropists countered by donating $24 million to the ACLU in a single weekend, a sum that grew to $79 million during the first three months after the inauguration, according to Newsweek. There are plenty of others. After Trump’s first 100 days in office, nonprofit evaluator Charity Navigator reported a huge increase in donations to progressive groups including the ACLU (up 8,000%), Southern Poverty Law Center (up 1,400%) and Planned Parenthood (up 1,000%) along with the American Refugee Committee and Environmental Defense Fund.
Blue Giving Vs. Red Giving
Behavior like that is expected to contribute to record-breaking charitable totals in 2017, although what happens next is a bit murky, thanks to a different Trump effect: His new tax plan, which takes effect in 2018, will substantially shift how people are donating because of a change in what they can deduct.
Americans have been philanthropically generous for years now. In 2016, charities received $390 billion from U.S. donors, a historic increase for the third year in a row. More than 70% of those funds came from individual donors, with foundations and corporations making up the difference. Experts think that trend will likely continue in 2017, but who is doing the giving may be politically tinged: Democrats are expected to donate about 50% more than usual this year, while Republicans will give 28% more, mostly in ways that follow party lines. The left is backing women’s rights, the environment, and civil liberties. The right is all about religious groups and military and veteran associations.
But Bethany Maki, vice president of nonprofit strategy at ForwardPMX, a marketing group associated with that study, says that the concept of rage giving has evolved too. “People are sort of past the chapter of rage and now it is more about a proactive [financial] activism for the causes that they care about,” she says. Liberals especially see donating toward contested topics as voting with their dollars.
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