Max­i­mize your char­i­ta­ble giv­ing this hol­i­day sea­son

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By John Gar­vey

Phi­lan­thropy is an in­te­gral part of Amer­i­can cul­ture, so it’s no sur­prise that 91 per­cent of Amer­i­cans donate to char­ity reg­u­larly, ac­cord­ing to UBS’s Q4 2014 In­vestor Watch re­port, “Do­ing well at do­ing good.”

Whether it’s a re­quest at the check­out line at the gro­cery store or an end-of-year gala, the op­por­tu­nity for char­i­ta­ble giv­ing is ev­ery­where, es­pe­cially dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. We’ve all seen th­ese types of do­na­tion re­quests and char­ity event in­vites, but how do we know if we are truly mak­ing a dif­fer­ence when we give?

Ac­cord­ing to the In­vestor Watch re­port, only 20 per­cent of those sur­veyed think their cur­rent ap­proach to giv­ing is ef­fec­tive. As a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor, I be­lieve many donors may not al­ways un­der­stand the full in­flu­ence of their phil­an­thropic ef­forts. Con­sider th­ese tips to help feel the true im­pact of your do­na­tions this hol­i­day sea­son.

Plan ahead

So many peo­ple give re­ac­tively upon re­quest by writ­ing checks or giv­ing cash, but your gift­ing strat­egy will mean more to you – and the causes you sup­port – when you make a plan to de­ter­mine what you want to achieve through your ef­forts. Many of us as­so­ci­ate char­i­ta­ble giv­ing with the hol­i­day sea­son, but you may po­ten­tially make

a big­ger im­pact on the char­i­ties you choose to sup­port ear­lier in the year dur­ing a key fundrais­ing sea­son. Meet with your fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor at the be­gin­ning of each year to help you de­ter­mine what you can af­ford to give, and when, to max­i­mize your im­pact. Ac­cord­ing to the In­vestor Watch re­port, plan­ning for giv­ing raises donor con­fi­dence and im­pact by nearly 50 per­cent.

Know who you are giv­ing to

Be sure to re­search the causes and char­i­ties you sup­port. Each dol­lar you donate doesn’t go di­rectly to re­lief or aid. A por­tion of each do­na­tion may cover nec­es­sary ad­min­is­tra­tive costs that keep the or­ga­ni­za­tion op­er­at­ing seam­lessly. How­ever, it’s im­por­tant to know what per­cent­age of do­na­tions is used for ad­min­is­tra­tion and how much goes di­rectly to the cause, as this fig­ure may de­ter­mine which char­i­ties you want to work with. On­line re­sources can re­port in­for­ma­tion about non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing how their dol­lars are spent.

See your giv­ing in ac­tion

Give time to sup­ple­ment mon­e­tary do­na­tions. Of­ten when we give, we don’t know what hap­pens past the ini­tial do­na­tion, but vol­un­teer­ing time can

show you just how im­por­tant your do­na­tion is. Con­sider sched­ul­ing a day of ser­vice at work or vol­un­teer­ing with your fam­ily. Donors of­ten feel the best about their char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions when it is com­ple­mented by vol­un­teer­ing and work­ing with those in need. Vol­un­teer­ing of­ten pro­vides the feed­back we’re cu­ri­ous about, but con­tinue to main­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the or­ga­ni­za­tion and ask how your do­na­tion ben­e­fit­ted the cause. This strat­egy is es­pe­cially pop­u­lar among young pro­fes­sion­als, as mil­len­ni­als are very phil­an­thropic but may not have as much flex­i­bil­ity in their bud­get to give mon­e­tar­ily, ac­cord­ing to UBS’s 4Q2014 Your Wealth & Life re­port, “Char­i­ta­ble giv­ing*.”

Have a strat­egy

Work with your fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor to help de­ter­mine the best way for you to give, whether it’s through cash do­na­tions, ap­pre­ci­ated se­cu­ri­ties in a donor ad­vised fund, or through a foun­da­tion. Each ve­hi­cle of­fers dif­fer­ent ben­e­fits for the donor and re­cip­i­ent, so be care­ful when you struc­ture your do­na­tion. Tax ben­e­fits are an added bonus in giv­ing. While this is not the de­cid­ing fac­tor when al­lo­cat­ing fi­nances for giv­ing, be sure to work with your CPA so you can take ad­van­tage of the sav­ings.

Your phil­an­thropic ef­forts are not just about the dol­lar value given, but rather the value your ef­forts have on the com­mu­nity. De­velop a strate­gic plan for your giv­ing that

will not only ben­e­fit the causes you are pas­sion­ate about, but that can also make you feel good about your giv­ing.

John Gar­vey is a Fi­nan­cial Ad­vi­sor with UBS Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Inc., a sub­sidiary of UBS AG. Mem­ber FINRA/SIPC in Philadel­phia, Pa. The in­for­ma­tion con­tained in this ar­ti­cle is not a so­lic­i­ta­tion to pur­chase or sell in­vest­ments. Any in­for­ma­tion pre­sented is gen­eral in na­ture and not in­tended to pro­vide in­di­vid­u­ally tai­lored in­vest­ment ad­vice. In­vest­ing in­volves risk and there is al­ways the po­ten­tial of los­ing money when you in­vest. The views ex­pressed herein are those of the au­thor and may not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of UBS Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices In. Nei­ther UBS Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Inc. nor its em­ploy­ees (in­clud­ing its Fi­nan­cial Ad­vi­sors) pro­vide tax or le­gal ad­vice. You should con­sult with your le­gal coun­sel and/or your accountant or tax pro­fes­sional re­gard­ing the le­gal or tax im­pli­ca­tions of a par­tic­u­lar sug­ges­tions, strat­egy or in­vest­ment, in­clud­ing any es­tate plan­ning strategies, be­fore you in­vest or im­ple­ment. In pro­vid­ing wealth man­age­ment ser­vices to clients, we of­fer both in­vest­ment ad­vi­sory and bro­ker­age ser­vices which are sep­a­rate and dis­tinct and dif­fer in ma­te­rial ways. For in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing the dif­fer­ent laws and con­tracts that gov­ern, visit work­ing­withus.

John Gar­vey

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