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Survey Shows Americans Want Charitable Deduction Protected As Congressional Hearings Begin

Only 1 in 5 believe cutting or capping the deduction will help solve debt crisis

DALLAS, Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With the House of Representatives set to hold hearings Thursday on the future of the charitable tax deduction, Americans say they strongly oppose capping or cutting the deduction to help solve the debt crisis facing the country, according to a Dunham+Company national study conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research. 

Seventy-five percent of Americans continue to say they value the deduction as it currently stands. And 61 percent say they feel strongly about maintaining the current deduction, up from 56 percent in January 2012.  Only 9 percent strongly disagree, which is up from 5 percent a year ago.

The strength of support for protecting the charitable tax deduction cuts across geographic boundaries, with 70 percent of those in the Northeast and West supporting it, 76 percent in the Midwest and a high of 80 percent in the South.

In addition, key groups of President Obama's 2012 coalition strongly agreed that "charitable deductions should not be cut, capped or limited."  The key groups were women (58 percent), adults 18-34 (56), Hispanics (65) and people making at least $50,000 a year and less than $75,000 (67).

This support for the charitable deduction goes even further, as only 20 percent of Americans believe cutting or capping the deduction is vital to solving the debt crisis.  The survey showed that no group of Americans wants to cap or cut the deduction as a way to solve the debt crisis, with the lack of support apparent in President Obama's 2012 coalitionwomen (20 percent), adults 18-34 (30), Hispanics (26) and people making at least $50,000 a year and less than $75,000 (17).

"The support for protecting the charitable tax deduction among the American public continues to be exceptionally strong," said Rick Dunham, President and CEO of Dunham+Company, a company that specializes in nonprofit marketing and fundraising.  "Regardless of household income, education, age, race, or gender, Americans do not want the deduction to be hurt in any way as Congress and the administration debate how best to deal with our national debt crisis."

Nearly 6 out of 10 (59 percent) of respondents to the survey said they believed that capping or eliminating the deduction will cause a drop in donations.  According to Giving USA, which is the longest running and most reliable report on the sources and uses of giving in America, charitable giving is in uncharted waters, having gone through its single greatest historical decline from 2007-2009 (an approximate $30 billion drop), and still continues $13 billion down as of 2011, the latest data available from this report.  The prospects for recovery are bleak as another report, the Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report, which is based on overall giving data from 3,144 charities across America, indicates that for 2012 there was only a 1.7 percent increase in giving, and this is against inflation of 2.1 percent, which means there was no real growth in charitable support.

The Dunham+Company study was part of Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research's January Omnibus Study of 1,000 adults nationwide. All respondents were contacted via Random Digit Dialing methodology.  Interviews were conducted via live telephone interview Jan. 10-13, 2013.  A sample of 1,000 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Please visit for more information on the survey.

Steve Yount
972.267.1111, X 205
[email protected]

SOURCE Dunham+Company

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