The spooky season is here, and Congress is out of session for the last stretch of the campaign season ahead of the November election. If you have been busy watching the sequel of Hocus Pocus or the baseball playoffs, fear not, here is a download of issues in Washington, DC affecting nonprofits:
Congress is out of session until after the midterm elections. Before leaving town, both chambers approved a continuing resolution (H.R.6833) to fund the government though December 16, successfully averting a government shutdown. The December deadline means another government funding bill must be passed and sent to President Biden by mid-December, which creates a legislative vehicle to potentially carry tax and retirement legislation. This is important for the charitable sector since several policy priorities could be included in a year-end package, depending on the political appetite after the midterm elections. The bipartisan and bicameral policy priorities that could be enacted at the end of the year include the Legacy IRA Act (S.243), the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act (H.R. 1704/ S.618), and the Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act (H.R.6161/S.3625).
Federal Student Loan Debt Relief Application Open
This month President Biden’s student loan forgiveness application opened. Borrowers are encouraged to apply for debt relief no later than December 31, 2023. In August, President Biden announced a plan that would bring student loan debt relief for borrowers. Under the plan, the Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education, and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples). While the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has issued a stay on the program, borrowers can still apply for relief and the government can begin reviewing applications. The pause on federal student loan repayment has been extended one final time through December 31, 2022. Borrowers should expect to resume payment in January 2023.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver Expiring Soon
The limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver that allows all payments by student borrowers to count toward PSLF, regardless of loan program or payment plan, is set to expire on October 31, 2022. Thousands of nonprofit employees can receive credits for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify. Independent Sector encourages nonprofit employees to confirm their eligibility using the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Tools & Resources developed in partnership with the National Council of Nonprofits and the PSLF Help Tool.
Number of Donors Decreased in Q2 of 2022
According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) the number of donors dropped 7% through the second quarter of this year compared to 2021. The number of small donors – those who gave $100 or less and represent 57.1% of all donors – plummeted 17.4% year-over-year. Those who gave between $101 and $500 dropped 8%, roughly 28.8% of all donors.
Of the five donor categories tracked by the FEP, only the “supersize” silo didn’t decline, remaining flat. Those donors represent 0.3% of all donors. Fundraising is estimated to have increased 6.2% year-over-year. The estimate accounts for the roughly 9% of Q2 fundraising data that arrives up to a year late. You can read more about the latest FEP report here.
Independent Sector Advocacy Day
On October 4, Independent Sector staff participated in its annual all-staff advocacy day. IS staff met with 47 Hill offices from California, Michigan, Florida, and Ohio to advocate for the reinstatement and expansion of the expired non-itemizer charitable deduction, and the Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act (H.R. 7587), that would create critical structures to help nonprofits and the federal government best serve the United States. Independent Sector believes that every nonprofit employee has a right and a responsibility to be an advocate, and this day is an opportunity for employees to learn and practice advocacy, so they have the tools to become engaged advocates outside IS. After the event, two-thirds of participants reported that they planned to educate policymakers and the public this year on an issue they care about.
Ana Montañez is manager of government relations at Independent Sector.