Here's another thought I've been noodling on for a while. I've given more money to political campaigns this year than I ever have before. Judging by the size of the funds raised through primaries and general elections, I'm not alone. Lots more people have been giving money to candidates (and propositions, initiatives, etc) than ever before. What will be the impact of all this political giving on people's budgets for year-end giving? I don't know the answer to this question and we may not know until well after the election and after Giving Season. My hunch is that, as our wallets have grown thinner in recent months and our anxiety has increased, the "average" person's budget for year-end giving is going to move in the same direction as their budget for holiday shopping - down. Consumer companies and investors are planning on lower spending. Nonprofits are girding for it. Some research says this isn't the case. But that research was done in July 2008, back when folks had jobs, some had 401K plans, investment banks still existed, and banks themselves were independent. Now more than ever we will be making decisions about where and how to allocate our dollars and what lever - charitable, political, investment - will make the change we seek.