5 Tips to Make Your Year-End Giving Go Further

Here are a few ideas on how to help maximize the feel-good effects that your charitable contributions can deliver this year.

A figure is seen in the distance walking in a field toward the horizon.
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Giving to charity is now easier than ever – especially during the holidays. Whether writing a check, opting to “round up” at the register, or simply clicking a “donate” button, you can quickly make a donation and be on your way. But after a few minutes, that good-deed feeling fades, and you may be left wondering if your contribution made a significant impact. What if you could make your giving reach more people this year?

Here are five tips to maximize your giving, just in time for the holidays.

1. Find matching opportunities.

Many charities have annual fundraising campaigns with mega donors who match contributions — sometimes as much as 3:1 — received during specified timeframes. Check to see if your favorite causes have similar opportunities that could double or even triple your impact, and help the organizations reach their goals.

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Employers often offer matching programs, too, which can make a big difference to nonprofits. You can even start a program in which you supply the funds for a future matching challenge. (opens in new tab)

2. Make it a family affair.

The holidays offer a rare opportunity to get the whole family together, and it’s the perfect time to get your kids and grandkids involved in giving. One idea is to create a “giving budget” to donate to charity. Each child then suggests a cause to help everyone decide where and how to distribute the “budget.” Actual dollars can then be given for the holidays — and even matched by grown-ups. The possibilities are limitless.

Looking for more family-friendly giving ideas? Foundation Source’s The Secret to Joyful Giving (opens in new tab) guide can help.

3. Formalize your giving.

If you don’t have a charitable vehicle but have been giving consistently and expect to give more in the future, several options are available to ensure your gifts are more organized, strategic and tax efficient. You can diversify and expand your giving with vehicles like a private foundation or a donor-advised fund that will earmark assets for charitable purposes and potentially provide meaningful tax benefits.

Private foundations offer flexibility, control and other unique advantages (opens in new tab) that support creative and entrepreneurial philanthropy. Donor-advised funds provide advantages like anonymity and higher tax deductions. You can also incorporate your philanthropic objectives into your will or estate plan and explore planned giving and trusts.

4. Don’t forget Uncle Sam.

Coordinating your charitable contributions with your tax strategy, estate planning and investment management could result in better outcomes — across all disciplines — and ensure that you get beneficial tax deductions, which in turn allows you to give more. With charitable vehicles like private foundations and donor-advised funds, you can maximize your tax savings and may be able to claim a same-year tax deduction.

5. Know your minimums.

If you have a charitable vehicle with a minimum distribution requirement, make sure you know what it is and how much you have left to disburse so your assets are used for charitable purposes and not penalties. For example, private foundations are required to annually distribute at least 5% of the previous year’s average net assets.

Qualifying distributions from the foundation include grants to public charities, administrative expenses and certain costs related to carrying out the foundation’s charitable purpose, such as a building, computers and office furniture.

©2021 Foundation Source Philanthropic Services, Inc. All rights reserved.

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Hannah Shaw Grove
Chief Marketing Officer, Foundation Source

Hannah Shaw Grove is the chief marketing officer of Foundation Source (opens in new tab), founder of "Private Wealth" magazine and author of 11 data-based books and hundreds of reports and articles on topics relating to the creation, management, disposition and transfer of wealth. Hannah has previously been the chief marketing officer at Apex Clearing, iCapital Network and Merrill Lynch Investment Managers and is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University. She holds the FINRA Series 6, 7, 24, 26 and 63 licenses.