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Support giving back this holiday season

Let’s be honest: many of us need a good tap on the shoulder to remind us to give back, and the holidays are a perfect reminder. As our families come together, we realize all that we have to be thankful for, we come to appreciate our community even more and it’s often a powerful inspiration to give.

But there’s also another motivator: the Dec. 31 tax deadline. Right now, if you give a gift before Dec. 31, federal tax laws allow you to deduct that gift from your income and save a bit this coming tax season. The Council of Nonprofits reported that 20 percent of online giving for the entire year occurs on December 30 and 31  – so that deadline seems to be just the right tap on the shoulder for many people.

But this year, with the nation’s “fiscal cliff” looming, there has been a lot of talk about capping or re-evaluating the charitable deduction. With that tap on the shoulder weakened, this could mean a devastating ripple effect.

Individual donations to nonprofits equaled $298 billion in 2011. These are investments from families, parents and neighbors in our communities or in issues we care about – a way of “buying in” to a cause or a future.

20%

Portion of online giving donated on Dec. 30 or 31

$298B

Total individual donations to nonprofits

And the need for those investments continues to grow. Our Navigation Center, which connects those in need to valuable resources, has seen it first hand in our own back yard: increasing calls, increasing needs and the number one reason callers couldn’t get help is because an agency ran out of funds.

For United Way for Greater Austin, our donors provide critical support to help make our community thrive. We – staff, donors and volunteers – have helped more than 400,000 people this year. We’ve done it together for Austin’s future.

Giving joins us in the shared mission of making sure our wonderful and unique community continues to thrive and prosper. Please join me, as you did on Giving Tuesday, in spreading the word about the importance of giving back. Share this message with your friends, your neighbors and your representatives.

When we come together in giving, we can do more than any one can when they act alone. Thank you for making an investment in Greater Austin – our future as a city, a region and a family.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of afagen via Creative Commons. 

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