The Nonprofiteer received a follow-up to an earlier posting concerning the disparity between the mileage deduction allowed to employees and that permitted volunteers:
I . . . wrote letters to my senators (no response), the major presidential campaigns (no response), my congressman (form letter response) and the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations.
I just heard back from LANO today and thought you might be interested in what’s going on at the federal level recently (below and update #2).
Of course, if only a paltry number of people encourage passage, this will die in committee, but one can always hope that nonprofit organizations will advocate for their volunteers (hope springs eternal…) I mentioned the disparity to a staff member of the National Endowment for the Arts at a meeting we both attended recently—she was astounded. Not surprising, as no one appears to really be looking out for volunteers.
Still going to stay on my soapboxJ
Ms. Weeks appended a report about a House bill to equalize mileage allowances and an amendment to the farm bill sponsored by Senator Dole (late of the American Red Cross) to raise the volunteer mileage allowance to 40 cents (10 cents below the business rate). (Unclear whether the amendment survived the floor vote on the bill or whether the bill itself will survive a threatened veto.)
The Nonprofiteer is not running for office, so she can say this in the baldest form possible: anything that encourages people to use their cars is a poor idea, and that includes an increased mileage deduction for charity volunteers. Americans already drive too much, and the only good thing about skyrocketing gas prices is that they will do what no amount of moral suasion has managed, which is to get us to drive less–which in turn may reduce our willingness to have young people killed in the Middle East to assure cheap fuel to the rest of us.
Volunteers should be riding public transportation to their charity gigs, as employees should be riding public transportation to their jobs. If the volunteer gigs themselves require driving (e.g. delivery of meals on wheels), then mileage is a component of the charity’s operating expenses, and every individual volunteer (or organized group of volunteers) can negotiate with the charity about what proportion of those expenses should be paid by the charity rather than its volunteers.
But–lest the point get lost in the qualification–it’s time to stop subsidizing driving, at charities or anywhere else.