Direct Gifts to Charities
Giving directly to charities is likely the most familiar route of giving to you. Donors select a charity that provides programs and services that reflect values similar to their own, and make gifts of cash or other assets such as appreciated stock.
Giving to a community foundation allows you to help improve the lives of people in a particular community while supporting an entity that already exists to do the grantmaking. Donors designate charities or advise the Board of Directors as to which charities they wish to support.
Private & Family Foundations
Creating a private foundation allows you to retain personal control and flexibility over your charitable giving. Donors and their families may make decisions or delegate to an independent board of trustees or to a trust officer acting on the donor’s behalf.
Giving to a public foundation offers you a chance to pool your donations with like-minded donors in support of a particular issue or cause. Public foundations choose an issue or mission that they promote through grantmaking and offer donors options for involvement.
Establishing an operating foundation allows you to closely direct the charitable activities you choose. Private operating foundations are not primarily grantmaking entities, rather they operate facilities or institutions devoted to a specific charitable activity as determined by the donors.
Joining or forming a giving circle provides you with a hands-on opportunity to collaborate with others and practice philanthropy with your peers. Donors pool their funds for the purposes of joint-decision grantmaking.
Creating a supporting organization gives you an alternative to establishing your own private foundation, but still allows close involvement with grant decisions. Through this option, donors tie their funds to one or more public charities in a way that is significant to the total support of those organizations.
Including philanthropy in your estate planning enables you to establish a legacy of giving. Donors employ a variety of planned giving vehicles, such as charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts.
Starting grantmaking and community service programs within your for-profit enhances your company name among customers and employees while helping others in need. Programs are generally funded through company profits and are administered either through the company or as a legally independent foundation.
Practicing philanthropy through programs offered by your employer enables you to leverage your dollars. Many companies match their employees’ charitable contributions, and employers often offer automatic payroll deductions that the donor may designate for specific charities.
Donor Advised Funds
Place the fund with a nonprofit manager, such as a community foundation or some financial service firms are managing DAFs. You may take an immediate tax deduction on your contribution. Then you recommend grants to charities and nonprofits of your choice on your own timetable. As the donor, you explicitly retain the ability to make recommendations to the public charity concerning distributions from the fund’s income, and, in some cases, from the fund’s principal.