If Christmas can't increase charitable donations, the so-called fiscal cliff can.

Wealthy taxpayers and charities are scrambling to maximize their donations by the end of the year due to Capitol Hill's uncertainty of keeping tax deductions for charitable donations, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"People want to take advantage of 2012's certainty," said Benjamin Pierce, head of Vanguard Charitable, a nonprofit group affiliated with Vanguard Group Inc., to The Wall Street Journal. "Front-loading is very much on their minds."

The charitable tax deduction started in 1917. As they debate about what should happen to avoid the fiscal cliff, both GOP and Democratic lawmakers have discussed cutting out the deduction, which charities realize could harm them in the future. Feeding America, a Chicago charity organization, is asking donors to pay their donations forward.

Many charitable companies are up in donations, according to the article. Schwab Charitable had a 74-percent increase for the third quarter.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com