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501c Success Series with Sandra Swirski: Cryptocurrency and 2022 Political Impact on the Nonprofit Sector

Sandra Swirski, Partner, Urban Swirski & Associates brought policy and practical fundraising advice from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City at the 501c Success National Speaker Series on February 25. Swirski’s 30 years of experience in management consulting includes working with nonprofits and large membership organizations to reimagine, build capacity and scale their public policy and advocacy infrastructures. She indicated the pandemic has allowed for a “shift in attitude” among lawmakers as they realize how many nonprofits are first responders and how critical this workforce is to all. This represents a “good opening and advantage to all,” Swirski said.

Regarding cryptocurrency, Swirski noted that crypto giving to charities grew from $7,000,000 to $33,000,000 from 2016-2021. Most notable in her piece on crypto was the fact that “half of willing donors could not find a charity to support that will accept crypto.”

Donors find crypto as a good use of funds in this sector because there is less risk of capital gains taxes in using this currency.  She indicated NP’s have an unwarranted position to feel crypto currency is a fad or is unsafe. Because crypto currency passes through a platform (like Giving Block) before it passes to the NP, the funds are not “held” therefore, the risk is not with the receiving charity.

She cited 300 million people own $3 trillion in crypto as of November 2021 and 35 million were in the United States. Thirty percent were under the age of 30. Her research showed all income levels owning an equal portion of crypto with Bitcoin being the most-owned currency.

Swirski covered four legislative issues that are on Congress’ plate relating to the nonprofit sector:

  • The Universal Charitable Deduction is an expired provision that needs legislation to be extended.
  • Tax credits for employers in the nonprofit sector to help retain and attract employees due to rising salaries in the general workplace are being reviewed.
  • Tax breaks and checks for the working poor and paid leave benefits for childcare and family care on the table.
  • Bills targeting Donor Advised Funds and the timeliness of payouts is on the radar as well as bills targeting foundations around harder-to-value assets like art, real estate, ranches, farms and closely-held businesses. Additionally, bills to discourage family members from serving on family foundations and boards are being analyzed. All of this activity can create uncertainty and in the long-term affect charities negatively.

Her advice to the audience was to get involved and be an active constituent. Even though lobbying is limited (20% of a nonprofit’s budget is allowed for this activity), she recommended asking for time with local and state representatives and include them in applicable efforts. “Be the squeaky wheel,” she said.

Other Tips:

  • Call Constituent Services weekly
  • Tag Legislators on social media
  • Invite them to your organization
  • Subscribe to updates from the National Council of Non-Profits.
  • Sandra Swirski can be found on twitter @usaphilteam


Our next 501c Success National Speaker Series will feature Dr. Patrick Rooney, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. Rooney will be presenting Giving USA 2022 for the ninth year in a row. The event will take place on Thursday, June 23, at the National World War I Museum. Registration details to come!

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