Give This, Not That!

By: Darcy Swon, Development Director, Enhance Hamilton County Foundation

Millions of people have used the book series Eat This, Not That as a simple guide to make smart food choices. Sure the double fudge milkshake with whipped cream sounds like the perfect afternoon snack, but maybe there is another option that tastes great and saves a few calories in the daily calorie bank.

Just like making decisions at dinner, some charitable giving choices are better suited than others. Let’s be clear – giving back is always great. By considering your giving options you not only bless organizations with your generous support, but you also ensure you are making a gift that has the greatest impact.

As we enjoy all that our local communities offer during these warm summer months, now is a great time to think about how you can support the causes you care about. Keep in mind this is a short list of options available to you and some organizations may be looking specifically for items I have included on the “not list” to best meet their mission. Just like asking for a waiter’s recommendation at a restaurant, the best thing you can do when considering making a gift is to have conversations with the organizations you want to support to determine what their needs are and how you can play a part.

Give This:

  • Shares of appreciated marketable securities-easy to give and may eliminate capital gains along with the charitable deduction.
  • Real Estate-if you have a piece of property that you are interested in selling, consider gifting it to a cause you care about to potentially eliminate capital gains and receive a charitable deduction on the gift. The organization will typically sell the property and use the proceeds for the benefit of their mission.
  • IRA Charitable Rollover-donors 70 ½ and older can transfer up to $100,000 annually from IRA accounts to public charities without being subject to federal income taxes on the distribution.
  • Endow Iowa Qualified Gifts-Thanks to the foresight of Iowa leaders, if you make a gift to an organization’s endowment fund at an Iowa community foundation you may qualify for the Endow Iowa Tax Credit, a 25% state tax credit in addition to the federal deduction.

Not That:

  • Time Shares-These can be difficult for charities to sell and often they incur fees while holding.
  • Anything that Eats-Maintaining the assets while finding a buyer may be burdensome and expensive (for example, feeding livestock).
  • Anything With a Steering Wheel-IRS rules may limit the amount of the charitable deduction for you as the donor.
  • Cemetery Plots-These can be tough to sell and charities could incur fees for opening and closing the plot.

You might ask yourself, where is cash/check? Why did the most popular type of charitable gift not make the list? While it certainly makes a wonderful gift to your favorite charity, for some of us it might not be the most tax advantageous. Your professional advisor will be able to offer feedback based on your individual situation; I would recommend consulting with her or him.

The Enhance Hamilton County Foundation is here to help you consider how best to support the causes you care about. We partner with donors, and their professional advisors, every day to make gifts to the causes they care about in tax-wise ways. Contact me by calling 515-832-0437 or via email to explore the possibilities.

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