Five quick updates on five important topics

For those who follow these writings regularly, you’re probably wondering what’s happened with popular recurring characters like Donor Advised Funds, the CARES Act, Facebook, and more!  Fear not, as we go into lightning round updates on your favorites:

Donor-advised fund donors are still planning to up their giving.  A Fidelity survey just showed that 46% of DAF donors have increased giving; only four percent decreased.  Even more importantly, 22% of DAF donors said the pandemic would continue to influence their giving into 2021 and more than a third donated to a new charity in 2020 from their DAF.

If you are interested in how to get people to make their first gift to you with a DAF and model to see what donors may be available who would be willing, we recommend our Finding Donor-Advised Fund Donors webinar:

And you can read more about DAFs in previous coverage here.

Your biannual reminder about the CARES Act.  In our white paper on the CARES Act, we talk about how, for this year only, talking about gifts as tax-deductible is less of a lie than usual.  That is, the CARES Act made gifts up to $300 tax-deductible above the line on taxes, so you can deduct them before you decide whether to itemize or not.

We also said this would likely be relevant two times: once when the CARES Act was passed and once at the end of the year when people are thinking about taxes.

So here it is near the end of the year.  Now would be the time you may want to be reminding donors their gift will be especially tax deductible this year.  It’s not a reason to give in and of itself, but it does lower the perceived price of giving for donors, which can cause them to give and give more.

Shocked-face emoji: Facebook has messed up its political ad ban

In our coverage of the Facebook political ad ban, we talked about how the categories were overly broad, covering even a poop emoji plush toy under the banner of political ads.

Well, the ad ban continues, possibly because some folks who will remain nameless continue to litigate the 2020 elections.  (I’m looking at you, Antipodean albatross, who blames its loss for New Zealand’s bird of the year to the kakapo on a bunch of votes coming in from one IP address.  I am not making this up.)

Anyway, the dragnet, as predicted, was overly broad and randomly applied. Veterans organizations are having their ads oddly classified as political.  We heard from one animal rights organization that ran an ad on doghouses.  This was blocked and continues to be blocked on the grounds that it is a political ad about, I kid you not, zoning.  I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Lady and the Tramp is not a social commentary about redlining.

And more broadly, perhaps lumping social issues and political ads into one giant cluster may make sense if you only have a black and white “does it make a profit” question. But there are shades of gray betwixt and between that should likely be differentiated.

In other Facebook news, it was revealed that they tested an algorithm change that would reduce the number of articles people saw that were “bad for the world.”  It was successful in reducing this content, but also lowered the number of times people opened Facebook.  Anyone want to guess whether it kept that algorithm change?

(If you guessed they did the right thing, you perhaps haven’t been paying attention.)

In-group bias is a personal choice.  We talked a few weeks ago about how people tend to give to in-groups and how you can combat this with your donors (

We just discovered another study that found that in-group/out-group bias may only be significant among some people.  They looked people who gave to out-group causes and found them to be more generous to beggars, whereas people who gave to in-groups and local charities, they were less likely to give to beggars.

This would tend to indicate that there’s a type of person willing to give to out-groups and those who aren’t — an important factor to account for in your modeling.

Political donations vis a vis charitable donations.  A few months ago, we talked about how political donations wouldn’t negatively impact charitable donations.

We were right.  They didn’t.  This will be the last gloat on this topic for the next 2-4 years.

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