Charities depend largely on year-end donations. This year's likely to be no exception.
Holiday spirit and year-end tax planning inspire a flurry of charitable giving between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but the spike in donations is much more crucial to some charities than to others, according to Charity Navigator, a nonprofit rating service designed to guide giving.
The expectation that taxes will increase in 2013 is likely to exaggerate the year-end giving trend, according to ongoing Millionaire Corner research on the attitudes and behaviors of wealthy investors. Roughly 11 percent of affluent investors surveyed in November say they will use charitable donations as part of a strategy to cope with higher taxes, while nearly three-fourths of investors participating in our September survey plan to donate to charity over the December holidays.
The average charity receives more than 40 percent of its total annual contributions in year-end gifts, according to Charity Navigator, but in 2011 a handful of top-rated groups received more than 70 percent. A few received nearly all their annual contributions as the calendar was winding down.
Most dependent on year-end giving in 2011 was The Nature Conservancy, which received nearly all (99.9 percent) of its annual budget in December. The group is a global conservation organization working to protect important land, river and marine ecosystems. A public interest law group, Center for Individual Rights, received 99.8 percent of its donations at the end of 2011. The center seeks to enforce constitutional limits on state and federal power by challenging excessive regulation and unconstitutional action. Susan G. Komen for the Cure received 99 percent of its annual donations in December of last year. The group describes itself as “the world’s largest grassroots network” of breast cancer survivors and activists dedicated to fighting the disease.
Other charities in the top-10 list include Food Bank of the Rockies (97 percent), American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (90.6 percent), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (89.4 percent), World Wildlife Fund (85.8 percent), American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (84.7 percent), The Carter Center (76.4 percent) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (72.7 percent).
“The year-end holidays inspire many people to reach out to those who are less fortunate,” according to Charity Navigator. “Less altruistically, but still just as important, donors need to make their end-of-year giving decisions by December 31 to qualify for a tax deduction in this calendar year.”