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Define your charitable mission.

What do you want to achieve by supporting your favorite charities? It’s a big question, but it can be thoughtfully addressed with the right approach and support.

  1. Consider your goals.

    When donors review all of their giving throughout the year, many are surprised by the reactive nature of their giving and the number of “impulse donations” they make. Setting goals can help organize and deepen the impact of your generosity. These guiding questions may help you and your advisor to better define your philanthropic goals and objectives:

    • Is there a particular cause or need that is especially relevant to you?
    • Does a particular community of people or region have special meaning for you?
    • Can you combine financial support with volunteering?
    • Would you like to include your family in your philanthropic goals?
    • Are you looking for a tax-smart way to manage your giving?
    • Would you like to extend your philanthropic efforts beyond your lifetime?
  2. Identify your charities.

    There are more than 1 million charities in the U.S., so it’s no surprise that the most common question we hear is, “Where should I start looking?” Friends, family, and other personal contacts are good resources, but finding organizations that align with your philanthropic goals often requires a broader search.

    Schwab Charitable™ offers online access to GuideStar®, which includes program descriptions, financial information, and supplementary information for a wide range of charities. In addition, we provide links to a number of charity research tools that can help you better evaluate charities of interest, including:

    • GuideStar
    • BBB Wise Giving Alliance
    • Charity Navigator
    • Charity Watch
    • Give Well
  3. Write down a mission statement.

    A mission statement is your vision for change. It includes your goals and how you expect to achieve them. You’ll be surprised how motivating this exercise will be. For couples and families, it’s also the perfect way to define a common purpose.

    Here is a sample mission statement from a Schwab Charitable donor:

    “We like to give to causes that we're passionate about, where we can not only give money but can give our time and our talent and our relationships.”
    –Milt, Donor in Oregon

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