Public Policy

Advocating for the Future of Fundraising and Philanthropy

Over the past several years, there have been calls for regulatory reforms with added bureaucracy for charities, such as nonprofit compensation restrictions, third-party accreditation and mandatory IRS audits. More recently, the charitable deduction has been put at risk, and new tax reforms could result in the loss of billions of dollars of charitable contributions nationwide.

AFP International provides in-house advocacy at the Federal level, which is important, but the best proven way to educate elected officials is through grassroots activity. AFP MN supports members in their efforts to meet with local government representatives on issues that impact their nonprofit organizations and charities through ongoing work in the Public Policy Committee.

Questions about starting or growing a government relations program?

Interested in learning more or getting involved?

Contact the Public Policy Committee VP

Lobbying and advocacy tools

Current Issues

How the new $900 billion COVID-19 relief and stimulus package affects donations

From the Passionate Giving Blog, Veritus Group, December 23, 2020

“The new stimulus bill that was just passed and signed could have some positive ramifications for your donors and your organization. Veritus Group in-house legislation expert, Robert Shafis, has researched the bill and has written his findings below:

“The House and Senate have passed a complex bill which will help those affected by the pandemic, while rolling in dozens of other provisions covering many subjects in its 5593 pages.” [The President signed the bill December 27]

There are two provisions which affect charitable gifts, extending and clarifying two laws which are available in 2020, but applying to gifts in 2021.

  • The non-itemizer’s charitable deduction of $300 is extended through 2021. In 2020, the deduction is limited to $300 per tax return, whether it is a single or joint return. Starting in 2021, the deduction remains at $300 but a joint return may deduct up to $600.
  • Previously, taxpayers were limited to a deduction of 60% of their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for charitable gifts of cash. That limit was lifted for 2020 and has now been extended through 2021. This effectively means a person could deduct ALL of their AGI by making gifts of cash to their favorite charities in both 2020 and 2021.

The two charitable tax benefits for 2020 which were scheduled to end on December 31 will now be extended through 2021. This won’t affect gifts in 2020, but offers new incentives to donors in 2021, especially the vast majority of taxpayers who no longer itemize their deductions. At least one commentator has indicated that certain technical aspects of the wording of the bill may be setting up the non-itemizer’s charitable deduction to be renewed again in the future."

Chapter Updates

On December 3, 2020, the AFP Minnesota Public Policy Committee hosted a Public Policy Update and Discussion session which explored how organizations can be involved in advocacy/public policy, examine recent public policy and tax law changes, and dissect how the changes impact philanthropy. The session included a panel discussion with three nonprofit advocacy leaders as they discuss how their programs were established, how they use volunteers, how to use technology and communications to build support for their advocacy issues, how their organizations collaborate with other groups to affect systemic change, and how to talk about public policy priorities with donors or in fundraising messaging.

Jon Severson, director of strategic partnerships & government relations, Science Museum of Minnesota; Rinal Ray, associate executive director, People Serving People; Bharti Wahi, executive director, Children’s Defense Fund–Minnesota; and Jeremy R. Wells, senior vice president of Philanthropic Services, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.


The CARES Act provides significant benefits to anyone making charitable contributions in 2020. This two-minute video explains all of the CARES Act benefits.