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Expert: Charities should seek corporate donors after tax-law change

Attendees listen to speakers discuss strategies for nonprofits

Attendees listen to speakers discuss strategies for nonprofits at The Inn at New Hyde Park on Wednesday. Credit: Barry Sloan

Not-for-profit executives need to seek new corporate donors and focus fundraising pitches on their organization’s mission as fewer taxpayers take charitable deductions, an accountant said.

David Rottkamp, not-for-profit practice leader at Grassi & Co., an accountancy with offices in Jericho and Ronkonkoma, on Wednesday said the number of U.S. taxpayers who take charitable deductions is estimated to fall from 30 percent on their 2017 tax returns to 5 percent for 2018.

That’s because the tax overhaul signed in December by President Donald Trump nearly doubles the standard deduction, eliminating financial incentives for many taxpayers to itemize charitable donations.

Speaking at a not-for-profit conference at The Inn at New Hyde Park, Rottkamp described corporate donors as an “untapped market.” Further, he said, corporate taxes were cut in the tax overhaul, giving them extra cash.

“They can put it in their own pocket, they can give it to their employees or they can do the right thing and give it to a nonprofit,” he said. “You want to talk to corporate leaders who are on your board.”

When speaking to individual donors, charities should “highlight the positives of your organization” and “build a cult of philanthropy,” he said at the conference sponsored by Investors Bank, based in Short Hills, New Jersey.

Also speaking at the event was panelist Paule Pachter, chief executive of Long Island Cares Inc., the Hauppauge-based food bank founded by the late singer Harry Chapin.

Pachter said that connecting with donors via social media is a full-time pursuit.

Almost 36,000 people follow Long Island Cares on various forms of social media, he said, adding that maintaining that presence requires effort.

“You have to invest in it,” he said. “We broadcast seven days a week.”

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