To our clients and community,
“I’ve been a ‘checkbook donor’ giving smaller gifts to a number of organizations for many years. I want to make a bigger impact with my giving, but where do I start?” This is a common question we hear from our clients. With the holiday season upon us, we want to provide a starting point for how to think about focusing your charitable giving.
First, take a few moments to reflect. If you could make a change in the world, what would it be? What upsets you? What excites you? This can be anything from transformational technology to food insecurity or homelessness and mental health.
What formative experiences have shaped your life and who you are? For example, Anne’s family has navigated special needs issues, which led to her interest and involvement with organizations that focus on facets of that issue ranging from brain research to housing, legal aid and advocacy for mental health communities. What’s important to you?
Once you identify some of the main issues that matter to you, the next step would be to hone in. Where do you want to focus geographically? Is it important to give close to where you live, or do you have a broader scope in mind?
Do you want to give a one-time gift or an ongoing donation to specific organizations? Do you want to coordinate your giving with your tax picture? We can help you with figuring out the right giving strategies and structures for you, whether that’s donating stock or other appreciated assets, “bunching” your donations for multiple years into one year, using a charitable vehicle like a Donor Advised Fund, or including gifts in your estate planning.
Once you have a short list of one or more nonprofit organizations, utilize sites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar to research how they’re allocating their resources and find other information that may inform your decision. You might also contact their development teams to find out more about their vision and operations. What are their most urgent needs? Do they have a strategic plan? How do they measure and report on the effectiveness of their programs? Ask questions to make sure that you understand how your gift will make a difference.
If you have children or other generations you would like to include in this process, how can you create a yearly tradition or ritual of discussing where you want to give? Some clients meet with their family foundations each year to discuss this more formally, whereas others may make a date around the holidays to have a cocktail and discuss the causes that matter most to them.
We’re here to help with all of this and will be discussing it with clients during our fall meetings. If you’re overwhelmed, don’t worry. We are passionate about being your thinking partners and helping you give in a way that aligns with your values and the difference you want to make in the world.
In good wealth,
Your partners at Created