February 8, 2024

Thoughtful Giving: How A Wealth Advisor Can Help You Maximize Your Charitable Efforts

By Team Seneschal

Photo by Rawpixel.com in Shutterstock

Many successful investors want to give back to society and positively impact the world. Charitable giving is a noble endeavor. Supporting causes and organizations that align with your values can be incredibly fulfilling. 

To maximize your charitable efforts and ensure your donations are making the most significant impact, you will need to approach philanthropy with a thoughtful and strategic mindset. 

Here are the various ways a wealth advisor can help make the most of your charitable giving.

The Power of Thoughtful Giving

When you donate money to a cause or organization, you want to ensure it is being used to create the positive change you desire. Thoughtful giving involves carefully considering where and how you allocate your charitable resources, considering your financial goals, tax implications, and the impact you hope to achieve.

While many people are eager to give, they may not have the expertise or time to research and vet charitable organizations or develop a strategic giving plan. 

Health Benefits of Charitable Giving

Research has found that charitable giving can have positive effects on both mental and physical health. Donating to charity activates the reward center in the brain, which can lead to feelings of happiness and well-being. 

Giving to others has been linked to lower levels of stress and depression, increased self-esteem, and even a longer life span. 

How a Wealth Advisor Can Help

One of the first steps in charitable giving is identifying organizations that resonate with your values and beliefs. Your wealth advisor can help you explore your philanthropic interests, assess your priorities, and select charitable initiatives that align with your mission.

A wealth advisor can work with you to create a comprehensive charitable giving plan tailored to your financial situation and objectives. This plan can include setting annual or long-term giving goals, establishing a budget for charitable contributions, and identifying the most tax-efficient ways to support your chosen causes.

Tax Benefits

Charitable giving can offer significant tax advantages, but navigating the complex landscape of tax laws and deductions can be daunting. A wealth advisor can help you maximize the tax benefits of your donations by providing guidance on strategies like donor-advised funds, charitable trusts, and qualified charitable distributions from retirement accounts. These strategies can help reduce your taxable income while supporting the causes you care about.

Schwab suggests the following year-end tax planning strategies:

  • Review how charitable deductions can reduce your taxes.
  • Consider bunching multiple years’ worth of charitable donations into a single year to exceed your standard deduction.
  • Identify non-cash appreciated assets and consider the benefits of donating them to charities.
  • Consider the tax benefits of giving now or deferring gifts to a later date.
  • Prioritize donations in years when major taxable events occur.

Evaluating Charitable Organizations

Not all charitable organizations stand on an equal footing. Your wealth advisor can assist in researching and evaluating charitable organizations, assessing their financial transparency, and determining how they allocate funds to their programs. 

Impact Measurement and Reporting

To make the most of your charitable giving, you’ll want to track the impact of your donations. A wealth advisor can help you establish metrics and evaluation criteria to assess the outcomes and effectiveness of your chosen charitable initiatives. They can also assist in obtaining regular reports and updates from the organizations you support, allowing you to see the tangible results of your generosity.

Legacy Planning

For individuals who wish to leave a lasting legacy through their charitable giving, a wealth advisor can help create a legacy plan. This may involve collaborating with your estate planner to structure charitable trusts or endowments, helping you specify the beneficiaries of your philanthropic assets, and providing continuity to help ensure your charitable intentions are carried out long after your passing.

Resources 

Here are some resources and organizations that can help you get started with thoughtful charitable giving:

  • National Philanthropic Trust provides philanthropic expertise to donors, foundations, and financial institutions, “enabling them to realize their philanthropic aspirations.”
  • Charity Navigator provides independent evaluations of charitable organizations to help you make informed decisions about your donations.
  • Council on Foundations offers insights and best practices for effective philanthropy. It supports over 850 member organizations to build trust in philanthropy and create solutions “that will lead to a better future for all.”

Final Thoughts

Charitable giving is a powerful way to positively impact local communities, the world, and leave a lasting legacy of generosity. We have helped families use philanthropy as a way to introduce younger generations to wealth and educate them on important financial planning concepts. We have also observed how giving can reinforce family bonds through the sharing of core values and purpose. Working with your wealth advisor, you can make the most of your charitable endeavors and contribute meaningfully to the causes that matter most to you. 

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