3 Questions for Better Charitable GivingSubmitted by American Endowment Foundation on September 14th, 2015
By Eric Kinaitis
A recent commentary in Investment News by Andrew Hibel provided a checklist in which donors with donor advised funds could review their charitable giving and re-assess their efforts to better optimize their financial and tax planning benefits.
This is good guidance for the larger population of trusted advisors and their clients who don’t yet have a donor advised fund; how well do you know the charitable giving habits of your clients? Do your clients even have a clear understanding of their own charitable giving?
The article provided the following thoughts/questions that can be of help to any advisor and their clients in getting a true understanding of how and why they give:
“ What have you given before?"
Assess their past giving. Exactly how much money has your client given and to which charities in the past year? How about the year before? Where they able to determine this information easily . . .or did they have trouble trying to determine this and had to provide a “guesstimate?”
“ What do you want to do the rest of this year? Do you have a specific plan?”
Are there causes that have caught their attention that they want to support? Are there causes that they have given to previously that they no longer are interested in? Do they have an exact schedule of when they will make their donation and the exact amount?
“ Any appreciated assets?”
The original article in Investment News clearly positioned the value of turning appreciated assets into charitable good: “In a fluctuating market, locking in gains now may benefit some portfolios. Have you recently sold a business, realized a gain from an IPO or had another financial windfall? Now might be a great time to offset your tax obligations with a charitable tax deduction.”
Asking these questions now and thinking them through with your clients allows them to plan their charitable giving and puts strategic thought into what is often an emotional yet well-meaning decision.
Why doesn’t this sort of discussion happen more often? For many trusted advisors, concerns over who to talk to and what to ask them are a stumbling block. For many donors, putting strategy into their charitable giving is a foreign thought. Noted philanthropic expert Bruce DeBoskey covers 5 steps that can help donors build a strategic approach to their charitable giving instead of making random gifts.
At American Endowment Foundation, we look forward to discussing the circumstances of your clients and how we can help provide deeper strategic thought to their charitable gifts. Contact us or call at 1-888-660-4508.