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Identify resources to donate.

Donors often find that their most fulfilling relationships with charities involve more than giving their financial assets. As you plan your giving, consider what combination of money, time, and skills will fulfill your philanthropic goals. If this seems like a complicated question, consider the three simple strategies below.

  1. Tally your assets.

    For many charities, the gift of time can be as important as the gift of money. If you have a skill set that is particularly needed, add that to the list when you do a simple accounting of what you have to give. Be sure to include:

    • Number of hours you can volunteer per week or month.
    • Potentially valuable skills.
    • Annual goal for financial support.
  2. Contact charities.

    Relationships start with conversation. The best way to find out what a charitable organization needs is to ask. This can inspire new ideas and help make sure you are giving when and where it is needed most. Here are a few good conversation starters:

    • Which programs are in the most need of volunteers?
    • When does the organization's fiscal year end?
    • What are the organization's annual fund-raising goals?
    • What internal operations are most in need of improvement?
    • What is the biggest challenge to the organization's mission?
  3. Don't forget appreciated financial assets.

    It is generally more tax-effective to donate appreciated investments or assets held for more than a year than it is to donate cash. This is because contributing appreciated assets to a public charity (including to a donor-advised fund account) may eliminate capital gains tax on the sale of those assets and thereby increase your giving by as much as 20%.

    Publicly traded and restricted stock, privately held shares (C Corporation, S Corporation, and limited partnership interests), initial public offerings, real estate, and private equity and hedge fund interests can all be tax-advantaged gifts to charity. Charities often do not have the resources or capabilities to accept gifts of appreciated assets directly. Schwab Charitable™ is well equipped to assist with this process and is able to accept and liquidate a wide range of appreciated investments and assets.

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