Charitable giving is often a goal of my clients, whether they are able to give today or would like to be able to give someday in the future. The specific goal is different for everyone. Whether you’d like to give to your church, your alma mater, a charity you want to support, or any other great cause - there are options for you.
If money is tight today, are there ways you can support your community with your special talents or physical abilities? If you have done a great job of saving over the years, would you like to now focus on leaving a legacy after you pass away?
Let’s look at a few ways you can give back to the community you care so deeply about:
Giving Your Time
If you are going through a period of having a tight budget, whether it’s due to paying down debts, a job change, or unexpected bills have added up - giving your time is a great place to start.
Reach out to the organization you’d like to support and ask if you can donate your time in any way. More likely than not, they will have plenty of opportunities for you that may only take a few hours of your time.
These opportunities may range from passing out food at the homeless shelter, moving dirt for the landscaping project at your church, or simply sitting down and talking with someone in need of your support. We all have something we can give back to the communities that support us.
Giving Your Belongings
You know as well as I do, we all have too much stuff. Now that the weather is warming up outside, we all have the same thing on our To Do List - Spring Cleaning. Take some time this week to go through your closets, garage, and crawl space to find items you haven’t used or needed in the past 6 months. By donating your unused belongings, you will be able to support others in your community who will benefit from those items.
Do you have a vacation home? If the charity you’d like to support is having a silent auction, consider auctioning off a few nights or a week at your vacation home during the off-season. This is an easy way to raise funds for your favorite charity and allow others to enjoy your wonderful home. Unfortunately, donating nights for a charitable cause will not create a tax deduction for you.
Giving Your Services
If you have any special talents, whether they are professional services or just a hobby, you can help raise funds for your charity. A few examples may be a hairdresser that donates a free session, a scrapbooker that donates a free custom scrapbook, or a lawn care company that donates a month of lawn mowing.
Whatever your profession or hobby is, it is likely that someone is in need of your service and is willing to hire you through a charitable silent auction.
Giving Your Assets
This is often the first thing everyone thinks about when it comes to charitable giving. You can go about this a few different ways:
Giving your dollars for today
Giving your dollars for “tomorrow”
By giving money to the charities you care about today, you are able to see your gifts in action right away. The size of the gift does not matter, the most important part is that you are giving away a resource you have to support someone else in need. If you take itemized deductions when filing your tax return, you can deduct up to 50% of your adjustable gross income (meaning if you have adjustable gross income of $100,000, you can receive an income deduction for up to $50,000 of charitable contributions).
At Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, they have The Dollar Club. With everyone giving just $1 at each service, Cross Point is able to support families, schools, or organizations in the Nashville community on a regular basis, often in the amounts of $5,000 - $10,000 each. Small amounts add up to great sums with a collective effort.
What do I mean “giving your dollars for tomorrow”? This is where you can start thinking about how to best utilize the assets you have today to support your favorite organization in the future.
Donor Advised Funds (DAF) are a charitable-giving vehicle. You can make an irrevocable gift to the DAF to receive an income-tax deduction today, while leaving the assets in the DAF to be distributed to your favorite charitable organizations in the future. Are you expecting a larger-than-anticipated bonus or taxable windfall this year? By gifting to your donor advised fund, you will be able to reduce your taxable income today, but still be able to spread out your gifts for years to come. This is a tremendous way for you to begin thinking about your long-term legacy vs. giving a one-time gift.
Many Ways To Give
Regardless of your current financial situation, there are countless ways for you to give back to the community that supports you on a daily basis.
Charitable giving, whether with dollars or time, will bring great joy and meaning to your life. Take time to sit down and think of which organizations you’d like to support, now and in the future. Going through this process will put a smile on your face and will help you support your community for years to come.
If you’d like help in deciding the best way for you to give to charities, schedule a time to meet with me - I’d be happy to discuss further.