Yesterday I wrote about inequality being the thing that holds nonprofits back. how we need better wages for every not for profit worker. And I just found out that The Atlantic agrees that inequality causes a host of issues, including bad education for our children, and that we should adopt the Finnish model of everyone getting the same chance, no tution, and no more private schools.

But since we don’t have that, why else are we in trouble?

Well, aside from the Great Depression 2.0,

Aside from Corporations taking over art’s right to dissent from The Free Free School:

“Corporations who refuse to pay £billions in taxes are fêted for their relatively paltry largess and are awarded privileged access to events and policymaking. Donations no longer fit within notions of ‘patronage’ or ‘philanthropy’ but are strategically targeted blue chip branding exercises. This is part of a much bigger drive towards the marketisation of the arts and the privatisation of cultural provision and public space.”

Your nonprofit could start have to pay taxes and pay for a number of things. Such as sewage, water costs, property taxes, and finally, on any money that you bring in.

Think I’m kidding?

So first, in 2010, we had   “Attack of the Tax Exemption Killers from Blue Avocado

Then in May 2011, from the Wall Street Journal Online: Strapped City Chicago asks nonprofits to pay sewage, water costs

From MetroTrends.org: Oh, also nonprofits asked to pay Property Taxes

From the Nonprofit Quarterly: Occupy the Charitable Tax Deduction?

Then in January 2012, from the NonprofitQuarterly: New Benefit Corps are a message to nonprofits?

Drew McManus talks about why most discussions about new nonprofit models are dead ends.

And Pamela Grow points me to a new tax on retirement income in Michigan! And they PASSED IT! So that tiny $200 social security check that you’ll get at age 65 to live on? Now THAT will be taxed too, so you’ll probably get $150 or something. Who can live on $200 a month, let alone $150 a month in America anymore?

I’ve been talking with Gene Takagi of Nonprofit Law Blog and he says:

“Well, cities are strapped for cash, so you must expect them to start looking to nonprofits for more revenue.”


See, here’s the thing. Pardon the caps.


The idea that nonprofits should pay taxes is a red herring.

There’s money all around us. It’s just being held by the biggest corporations. Why should nonprofits have to pay the price of bad corporate tax laws on the part of cities/counties and states?

Maybe we have to ask ourselves, is it because we are not speaking up in defense of the sector?

Is it because we are not so hot at advocacy?

COULD we partner more to get better results?

Gene suggested on Twitter that nonprofits could train boards to advocate. But I don’t think that’s good enough. And apparently, neither did John Hardie, @PocoJuan on Twitter. See our convo below.

PocoJuan on Twitter

Commentary from @pocojuan on Twitter

Is there some way nonprofit associations in each state could spearhead this effort to protect the charitable tax deduction, like TANO is doing here in Texas?


What do you think?

If your nonprofit is part of a nonprofit association, why not ask them what they’re doing about this issue? Ask them what they’re doing to protect YOUR nonprofit?

And @PocoJuan had more to say:

PocoJuan is incredible.

PocoJuan on Twitter

What do YOU think? What do YOU have to say?

Is the answer getting your board to advocate?

Is it getting your association to advocate on your behalf?

Is the answer hiring a lobbying firm?

Is the answer starting a petition?

What can YOU DO right NOW?