This week, I’m pleased to welcome Andrea McManus, CFRE, the chair of AFP, to the blog. I’ll be inviting others to comment in the future as well, and if you ever have something you want to say, let me know!
I had the great honor to appear before the Standing Committee on Finance’s Pre-Budget Consultations in Parliament earlier this month to talk about tax issues related to charitable giving and volunteerism.
AFP has been appearing before the Committee on Finance for many years now, and it’s an important opportunity to present our issues directly to MPs and talk with them about their perspectives and concerns. Over the years, I’ve been able to see a gradual but significant improvement in Parliament’s awareness of philanthropic issues since we began testifying on a regular basis. MPs now understand what AFP is, who we represent and the important issues we are advocating for on behalf of charities across Canada.
This year, we pushed two key proposals: increase the flow of charitable funds in the wake of the recession and encourage Canadians to enhance their charitable giving by establishing a “stretch” charitable tax credit, originally proposed by Imagine Canada; and extend the exemption from capital gains tax to charitable gifts of private company shares, land and real estate.
We believe both proposals will increase giving, but each is directed at a different audience—middle and lower-income donors for the stretch tax credit, and higher-income donors for the capital gains tax exemption. If we’re going to increase charitable giving—here in Canada and around the world—we’ve got to look across the board at all types of mechanisms and offer incentives to every kind of donor.
AFP’s advocacy work isn’t just happening at the highest levels of government. We’re talking with legislators and regulations in numerous countries at federal, regional and local levels.
We need your help too, as our grassroots advocates (you!) make the difference! I hope you’re getting involved with your chapter’s government relations work and responding to AFP policy alerts when we distribute them. And keep us posted as you hear of public policy proposals that will affect fundraising and philanthropy.
Public policy impact doesn’t usually happen overnight, but it DOES happen, and it’s one of the most important roles AFP plays—representing the profession.