Does crowdfunding skew liberal? ‘Times Up’ is the No. 1 GoFundMe campaign for 2018

Does crowdfunding skew liberal? ‘Times Up’ is the No. 1 GoFundMe campaign for 2018

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“It’s primarily a matter of timing,” said David L. Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits, the nation’s largest network of nonprofit organizations. “Younger donors are asking, ‘What are the hot issues?’ You’re donating using your phone and that’s one of the flash points affecting people that aren’t used to having a philanthropy budget, and those people that aren’t used to participating in longstanding movements.”

Each administration brings its own set of policies and each generation their causes, he said. “Had it been the Obama administration? Perhaps it would have been more conservative,” he added. “This administration has caused people to react. It may come across as liberal now, but it’s a matter of timing. When you’re crowdfunding, you’re not thinking in terms of charitable tax deductions, you’re acting upon your emotions of the day.”

The 24/7 news cycle triggers people helps drive donations, he added. “Unless they’re giving to a political party, people are reacting to policies and the news,” Thompson added. “People can vote for Donald Trump and hate the separation of children. They can vote Democrat and still think the wall is a good idea. Policies are what people respond to. When people are responding to immigration, they are responding to a public policy issue.”

Politics means different things to different people, he said. “For that reason, I don’t use the word political,” Thompson says. “You could talk to five people and come up with seven definitions of what political means. Young people are more agitated. These issues are generating strong reaction and they want to do something.” Most people are one click away from giving to a cause close to their heart. “It’s very easy to do something about it now,” he added.

There is, however, another reason Thompson shies away from “conservative” and “liberal” when talking about donations. Charities don’t tend to get involved in the machinations on Capitol Hill, and avoid supporting or denouncing political figures. “To maintain their tax-exempt status, charitable nonprofits cannot be politically partisan, but they can have strong public views on policy matters like immigration or abortion or marriage,” he said. “The majority of charitable nonprofits like it that way.”

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