Skip to main content

Tax Deductions for Cause-Related Marketing

Anup Malani and M. Todd Henderson, two professors at the University of Chicago Law School, proposed in the March 10, 2008 issue of Forbes magazine that individuals be allowed tax deductions for the donations made when they buy products that generate a donation to a charitable cause.

Here’s what they say:
“We think the tax law should be changed to equalize the deduction shareholders get for corporate and personal contribution. Individuals should also be allowed to deduct donations embedded in consumer products. Firms are increasingly doing good because shareholders and consumers want them to, and taxes should not favor one form of doing good over another.”

Why?
“Consumer charity is inefficient under our present tax code. If you pay $15 for
a pound of fair-trade coffee instead of $10 for regular coffee, you can’t claim
a deduction for the $5 difference. The additional cost is a nondeductible
donation.

Let me be perfectly upfront and say that I owe both these lawyers a wet, sloppy kiss.

I never dared wish that someone outside the cause-related marketing fold would propose a tax deduction for the donation individuals make when they buy a product or service that has a charitable donation built into its price.

Certainly when it comes to writing the actual law some wrinkles would have to be ironed out. It’s hard to imagine getting some kind of tax receipt when you commission a piece of music from Cantilena Music and a donation of $825 goes to a hearing cause, much less trying to figure out how many cartons of Yoplait you consumed in year with $.10 per going to Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

And it’s fair to say that any such bill would face certain opposition from legislators like Senator Chuck Grassley (R) Iowa. Senator Grassley is kind of the bĂȘte noire of nonprofits these days.

But I love this idea.



Who else do I have to kiss to make it happen?

Comments

Tom Nicholas said…
To close the loop, the merchant would need to ensure the sales receipt is itemized to show the specific contribution and the recipient.

Popular posts from this blog

The Alden Keene Cause Marketing Stock Index Dramatically Outperforms Other Indices

There are stock indexes galore; the Dow, S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, the Wilshire 5000, the FTSE, and hundreds more. But how would an index of the stocks of companies that do a meaningful amount of cause marketing perform compared to those well-known indexes? Pretty well, as it turns out.

I first floated the idea of a stock index that would track companies that do cause marketing back in 2009. I tried to figure out Yahoo Pipes so that I could put the feed right into this blog. But alas sometimes the geek gene does fall pretty far from the tree.

So I talked to programmers to see if I could find someone who could do the same, but it was always more than I was willing to pay.

Finally, last week I hired a MBA student to do it all in a spreadsheet, and what do you know but that over the last 15 years a basket of 25 cause marketing stocks dramatically outperforms the Dow, the S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, and the Wilshire 5000.

The index, which I call the Alden Keene Cause Market…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.


Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

An Interview with Cause-Related Marketing Pioneer Jerry Welsh

Jerry Welsh is the closest thing cause marketing has to a father.
In 1983 after a number of regional cause-related marketing efforts, Welsh, who was then executive vice president of worldwide marketing and communications at American Express looked out his window in lower Manhattan at the Statue of Liberty. The Statue was then undergoing a major refurnishing, and in a flash Welsh determined to undertake the first modern national cause marketing campaign.
I say modern because almost 100 years before in January 1885, the Statue of Liberty was sitting around in crates in New York warehouses because the organization building the pedestal ran out of money. And so Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of the newspaper called The World, proposed a very grassroots solution reminiscent in its own way to Welsh’s cause-related marketing.
Pulitzer ran an editorial promising he would print the name of everyone who donated even a penny. Sure enough pennies, along with dimes and nickels, quarters and dollars, …