What’s Ahead for Charities

November 22, 2010; Source: Christian Science Monitor | This piece from the Christian Science Monitor‘s end-of-the-year Guide to Giving is somewhat typical, outlining how the needs of charities have increased in the recession, demands on some charities such as food pantries and homeless shelters have escalated. The piece also outlines the mechanisms donors can use to check out the charities they might consider supporting.

Ken Berger of Charity Navigator and Dan Borochoff of the American Institute of Philanthropy both predict that local and state governments will go after charitable dollars to fill holes in their budgets. Berger says that the loss of stimulus funds will compel states to take aim at nonprofit moneys, a disaster that “charities just aren’t ready for.”

Borochoff says that states will develop tiered tax systems based on the service provided, so that, for example, “Homeless organizations might be taxed far lower than, say, a polo club.” Predicting increased federal government oversight of charities, Borochoff hopes that the Federal Trade Commission will supplant the Internal Revenue Service in some nonprofit “policing” functions and calls for “greater disclosure of where your money is going and how much is being spent to get your donation.”

Major newspapers around the nation will all run their charitable giving specials in the next few weeks. We would like readers of the NPQ Newswire to tell us what they see in these sections that strike them as surprising, out of the ordinary, challenging, and useful, compared to usual quotidian heartstring calls for charitable giving. Tell us what you’re seeing, and we’ll make sure it—and you—get covered in the Nonprofit Newswire.—Rick Cohen