On Tuesday, KNN hosted the 8th Annual KY Nonprofit Day at the Capitol. One of our goals for the day was to build relationships with legislators so that we would not have to“ask a stranger for a favor.” Much progress was made, but numerous officials and legislators pointed out – given the threats facing the nonprofit community, they expected a larger crowd. Well, me too.
Over the years, we’ve speculated about lots of reasons that nonprofits may not engage in public policy work. One speculation is that a major “issue” or “threat” or “crisis” is necessary to get busy nonprofit leaders involved. Well, that day has come – the tax deduction for charitable giving is in real danger at both the state and federal level. This morning, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee is holding a hearing on tax reform and charitable contributions. The Governor’s Tax Commission has recommended a cap on itemized deductions that includes the charitable giving tax deduction. So why are nonprofit leaders still relatively silent?
We had legislative officials tell us over and over again on Tuesday: if it matters to nonprofits, we need to hear from nonprofits. What worries me is when I recently asked one of the largest nonprofits in Kentucky about their willingness to work with us and others on these issues, they responded:”We expect KNN to do it.” Well, KNN is going to try. But KNN is bigger than our staff of three – KNN is also YOU!
Nonprofits are making progress in building relationships that we’ll need as we likely approach a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly, and there is growing recognition among legislators of the nonprofit community’s work and our economic impact. But I’m worried. What will it take to get our nonprofit leaders to really speak up and let our voices be heard? I know I’ve said it before: if not you – then who? If not now – then when?
Please take the first step, right now, and join the Nonprofit Sector Advocacy Council – it’s free and it meets online. And if you have ideas, we need to hear from you – what can KNN do to help more nonprofit leaders act to protect our sector?