Public Policy and Advocacy Plan

2021 UNA Advocacy Plan 

Guided by our vision “to promote strong and vibrant communities for all of Utah” and our mission “ unify, strengthen, and elevate Utah’s nonprofits,” we advocate on behalf of all nonprofits in the state. This advocacy comes in the form of events like Nonprofit Day on the Hill, activities like lobbying legislators to oppose or support legislation that impacts the entire sector, calls to action that demonstrate the support and reach our proposals have, and promoting the good that nonprofits accomplish every day in Utah’s communities. From 2021 to 2023, UNA will focus on accomplishing three primary policy goals, as outlined below in our public policy agenda. 

Public Policy Agenda

  1. State Non-itemized Charitable Contributions Tax Deduction: For several years now, the percentage of charitable giving coming from individuals has been declining. In 2017, the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) cut off about two-thirds of individuals in the U.S. who gave to charity, and who would previously itemize their taxes, from the federal itemizable charitable tax deduction. Recent data also indicated that the TCJA is resulting in a further decline in individual giving. To matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted most nonprofit organizations' ability to fundraise from current and would-be corporate, foundation, government, and individual donors, making it even harder for them to keep their doors open and staff employed. To combat this decline and strengthen the prospects of long-term recovery for nonprofits in the state, we propose that the State Legislature pass an above-the-line or non-itemizable charitable contributions tax deduction.
  2. Relief Aid and State Appropriations for Nonprofits: The initial economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led the State government to make budget cuts that have negatively impacted many nonprofits. Even though they are critical for the proper recovery and strengthening of our economy, nonprofits here in Utah continue to furlough or lay-off employees, merge with other organizations, or completely shut their doors. With new data indicating that the State Government has not faced a projected steep tax revenue decline, it is time for the State to consider more COVID-19 relief aid. Furthermore, the state should also consider appropriating more money to nonprofits that contract their services to the state, or at least restoring funding to the levels seen before the pandemic, to strengthen the recovery of these particular nonprofits.
  3. Strengthen the Link Between the State Government and Nonprofits: While nonprofits play a crucial part of the state’s economy, many state leaders may still have inaccurate and mixed feelings toward nonprofits. To improve these relationships, it is important to help state leaders understand that all nonprofits have their own missions, services, employees, and point-of-views that guide their advocacy and lobbying. Second, even though there are limits imposed by federal law on 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations, it is important that advocacy and lobbying are normalized and encouraged among nonprofits. Lastly, the Legislature, Executive Branch, and other relevant state agencies and bodies should be encouraged and urged to work closer with nonprofits and factor them in any broad policy decisions.