Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who will be our next President?

The economy was on everyone’s minds last week as the final Presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama got underway. McCain launched his attack concentrating on Obama’s $60 billion proposal to improve the economic problems in the U.S, suggesting that this plan would mean tax increases for many Americans. Both candidates spoke directly to “Joe the Plumber” who had confronted Obama Monday at a rally in Ohio regarding his tax policies. Joe Wurzelbacher, the plumber, suggested that Obama’s plan would increase his taxes. According to Obama, his plan would increase taxes on wealthy American’s making over $250.00, so “Joe the Plumber” must expect to do pretty well if he thinks he will be impacted. McCain asked Obama why he would want to increase anybodies taxes right now. “We both want to cut taxes,” Obama said. “The difference is who we want to cut taxes for.”

Obama fought back using his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden’s comment that McCain’s campaign advertising had been 100% negative according to a study by the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project that examined TV ad spending by the two candidates from September 28 to October 4.

According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group,"An analysis of campaign commercials aired over the last seven days shows Obama outspent McCain nationwide by more than 2-1: $21.5 million vs. $9.2 million. But just under half of the money Obama is spending is going toward negative spots, meaning the Illinois senator is roughly keeping pace with his GOP rival when it comes to negative commercials, in terms of cash spent," the story said.

Was there a clear winner in that debate? Which plan will offer the best hope for a bright future in the nonprofit sector? Let us know what you think.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Has the Money from Wall Street Dried up?

With the severe complexion of the financial industries’ bankruptcies, cutbacks, bailouts, and takeovers sweeping through financial markets, donations from highly paid financial professionals are expected to slump. Wall Street professionals have been a part of the richest 1% of the U.S. population. Some 51 percent of individual giving comes from the 10% of households in the highest income groups and slightly less coming from the 90% with income less than $100,000, according to Giving USA. “While higher-income families are major donors to many important institutions, ordinary-income donors are vital, too, for the health of the nonprofit sector in this country,” according to Del Martin, chair of Giving USA Foundation.

It is natural that as the economy slumps people will have less money to give to charity, however, “the trend of total giving of about 2% of income has remained about the same for the past 50 years”, according to Elizabeth Boris, director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.

The effect of the financial crisis on giving is expected to be significant. Will it really? What will nonprofits do to make up for the shortfall? Perhaps the American middle-class will step in to shoulder the burden of bank bailouts and maintain the healthy philanthropic giving that has been our nature for so long. Though trickle-down hasn’t exactly worked, the question is, has it left charities out to dry?