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A tough year for the needy

Janet Babin Dec 31, 2007


Scott Jagow: Today is the last day you can make a donation to charity and take that all-important tax deduction for 2007. It’s been a rough year for some nonprofits. Comes with the territory any time the economy gets a little shaky. Marketplace’s Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.

Janet Babin: The official numbers on how much we gave to charities and nonprofits this past year won’t be tallied for a few months. But experts say 2007 will be remembered for its variability.

Stacy Palmer with the Chronicle of Philanthropy says the wealthiest organizations — museums, hospitals — universities had a terrific year. But shelters, food banks, and social service organizations have struggled. Palmer explains why:

Stacy Palmer: Demand has increased and their costs are increasing, too. Certainly things like gas costs and those kinds of things really affect what they do, just like it affects the rest of us. So it’s a really challenging year for a lot of local nonprofit organizations.

Wealthy institutions had such a banner year, it’s likely overall giving in 2007 will beat last year’s total of close to $300 billion.

But if charities want to keep that pace next year, Palmer says they’ll have to be more open with the books. Increasingly, donors want specific details about how contributions are spent.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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