Nonprofits And Religious Organizations: Why Telling Your Story Will Be More Important Than Ever in 2018

If you’re involved in a church, religious ministry, or nonprofit organization, then you’ve already heard that many believe the new tax law will reduce the incentive for charitable giving by the middle class. Since it nearly doubles the standard deduction to $24,000 for joint filers, it’s assumed that fewer filers will itemize their deductions, and charities fear fewer Americans will be able to take advantage of the deduction – which means fewer will give. We have yet to see the impact either way, however, the red light that should be flashing is that if fewer people give because of a tax deduction, that leaves the altruists – those who give because of a passion for the cause.

Which means that in 2018 you’d better be thinking more about how to engage potential supporters with your story. In other words, you need to make your dream their dream. Whatever you do to help the homeless, poor, orphans, those involved in human trafficking, provide clean water, evangelism, missions – whatever, now more than ever is the time to connect with a bigger audience.

If the thinking is true, then you won’t be able to pitch the “tax deduction” angle while hoping people will give to help themselves. Starting in 2018, you not only have to do great work, but tell that story more effectively.

The options are many – short videos, social media, a more effective web presence, books, even radio and television. And while you’re at it, don’t forget the “Why.” Developing a compelling communication strategy should be the first step in telling your story.

At Cooke Pictures, our purpose statement states: “Our Mission is to Accelerate Yours,” and nothing will accelerate giving to your organization like sharing your remarkable story with the world.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Holmes Bryan

    Hi Phil! You’re absolutely right about the need for ministries to tell their story more effectively. But not because of the new tax laws. As a reason for giving, tax advantages has never ranked in the top 10, even for unbelievers. Also, the higher standard deduction will give most people MORE money to give away in 2018, not less, and will have no impact on the rest. I’m not sure why so many think the new tax laws will decrease giving — the opposite is more likely, especially among Christians. A relationship with someone in the organization (which you have written about so well) is the #1 reason people give, followed closely by belief in the cause. Beyond that, telling stories of changed lives and lives that need to be changed make a huge difference in whether a gift is given. You won’t find tax advantages as a reason till you get down around #20! Thanks for the great advice!

    • Good to know, and a good wake-up call for nonprofit organizations across the board. Thanks for sharing!