Establish your giving structure
Once you've decided where to focus your charitable giving, you'll need to decide which assets to give and establish a giving structure. Start by looking for ways to integrate your charitable giving into your financial and tax planning. Here are some resources to help you get started.
Charitable donations may help you reduce your tax bill, but not all organizations are eligible for tax deductions. To qualify, an organization must be established for religious, charitable, educational, or other specified purposes that meet specific requirements defined by the IRS. You can also give to many international organizations and crowdfunding platforms by following established guidelines.
Explore the types of charitable organizations.
Determine which assets to give
Although cash and checks are among the most popular ways to give, consider donating appreciated non-cash assets such as publicly traded securities, real estate, or private business interests. Donating these assets can unlock additional funds for charity and may reduce your tax liability. For example, donating assets rather than selling them yourself and donating the proceeds can potentially eliminate the capital gains tax.
Learn the guidelines for donating different non-cash assets.
Select your charitable giving vehicles
Research the different types of giving vehicles to determine which vehicle or combination of vehicles best aligns with your goals. While tax considerations are important, consider other factors such as the complexity of your giving and potential administrative burden. For example, unlike donations to limited liability companies, contributions to a donor-advised fund account can typically be invested for potential growth, tax-free, to increase your charitable impact.
Compare the characteristics of common giving vehicles.
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Keep building your plan
Explore other ways to make the most of your charitable giving.
Identify the goals and causes most important to you and narrow your charitable focus. Also consider involving your family in your giving.
Explore ways to create a giving budget and identify charities aligned with your causes.
Decide how you want your gift to be used and the frequency of your giving. Also look for opportunities to hone your plan.
Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open to different ways of giving, such as volunteering or serving on a nonprofit board.