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Structure your giving.

Planned giving can help keep vital funds flowing to charitable organizations, especially in times of economic uncertainty. During recessionary times, giving from donor-advised fund accounts has persisted and has then recovered much more quickly than overall giving.

Planning also puts donors in a better position to maximize their tax benefits by donating non-cash assets. These three planning strategies can help ensure that you fulfill commitments to your favorite charities when they need it most:

  1. Understand the charity's finances.

    Most charities place a high value on sustained support through recurring donations, but sometimes a single gift is just what is needed to help a program or organization meet a critical goal. Here are some questions to ask your favorite charities about their finances:

    • What kind of information does the organization provide about its financial situation, and in what format?
    • When does the organization's fiscal year end? (Many organizations plan programs and budgets around fiscal years.)
    • What proportion of the charity's funding comes from annual donations versus an endowment or other source of recurring income?
    • If the organization has an endowment, what are its return expectations?
    • Which programs are facing funding shortfalls this calendar year? This fiscal year? Over the long term?
    • What is the biggest threat to the organization's financial health?
  2. Invest in a Schwab Charitable™ account for potential long-term growth.

    You may be able to give more, for longer, by leveraging the tax benefits and potential growth of your contributions when they are invested over time. This charitable donation calculator will help you estimate how much more.

    Invest now and give more later.

    See how a donor-advised fund is allowing this couple to make a bigger impact. Watch >

  3. Combine your dollars with your time.

    Once you're retired, you may have more time to donate to charities when they need your skills the most. Consider a "volunteer vacation" when you can help out in your immediate community or elsewhere in the world—articularly if your philanthropic goals include the environment, health, or education.

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