By Barbara Head, December 5, 2021
Is your inbox clogged with desperate appeals from candidates and groups you’ve never heard of to donate before a deadline? Don’t Click! Put your money where it will work hard for the candidates, organizations, and issues you care about. Here’s how to make smart donations that give the most bang for your buck.
To be most effective, make your donations now. The end of 2021 could be the best time, for multiple reasons:
1. Political campaigns – For candidates, “early money” is worth 4x that which is obtained later in the election cycle. Candidates running in 2022 need to raise money now to hire staff, build their infrastructure, plan budgets and implement research programs. Perhaps the worst approach is to donate in the last days of a campaign, when it’s almost impossible for the campaign to spend that money effectively.
But who to support? Which of us has the time or resources to research the best choices? Fortunately, there are organizations that can come to your rescue by curating good places to donate. For instance,
- Swing Left’s research-based Blueprint, where a single donation endows a personalized portfolio, focuses on the most impactful Senate, House, and gubernatorial races.
- Force Multiplier, an independent, nationSwide, all-volunteer fundraising organization based in Boston, offers targeted funds to ensure that your donations are strategic and effective. Force Multiplier’s US Senate Early Impact and US House Early Impact slates provide early money to political campaigns according to financial need and political weight of their races.
2. Tax-deductions – Looking for a year-end tax deduction for your political giving? While contributions to political candidates are not tax-deductible, many progressive organizations may be– if they are nonpartisan and perform public-service activities such as voter education or empowerment. A tax-deductible example from Force Multiplier:
- Democracy in Action Slate educates, registers, and turns out voters in 5 key states (WI, AZ, NC, NV, and GA).
In general, groups organized as 501(c)(3) charities are tax-deductible, while 501(c)(4) charities are not, so check websites for designations. Political action committees (PACS), or other groups that seek to influence legislation, are not tax-deductible.
After making your donations in 2021, get ready for action in 2022 – writing, phoning, texting, canvassing, whatever it takes to save our democracy!