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BETTER GIVING: WHEN CASH IS OUT

We've all heard the saying "cash is king." Most of the time that's a fantastic rule of thumb. But sometimes cash isn't the best way to support your philanthropic endeavors. How can you tell? Here are three clues to keep you on the lookout for opportunities to get more bang for your giving back bucks.

1. If you're holding highly appreciated assets, such as stock or real estate, and you are also planning to make a significant gift to charity, consider giving the appreciated assets instead of cash. Why is that? Because assets like appreciated stock can be sold by the charity for 100 cents on the dollar--no capital gains tax applies. That means the charity ends up with more money to work with than you would if you sold that same asset yourself. 

2. If you want to support several charities all at once but have a single large asset you plan to give to the charities, consider using your donor-advised fund to facilitate the contributions. You can transfer the asset to the fund, get the tax benefits, have the asset converted to cash, and then allocate the proceeds to several different charities of your choice. 

3. Think outside the box, too. Giving something other than cash means contributing any asset you have that it is highly appreciated. Sometimes even artwork, jewelry, antiques, limited edition books, and other collections can be contributed to your donor-advised fund.

And, before you get worried it's too complicated, remember, giving anything to charity is worthwhile. Whether you are contributing stock, real estate, books, or even canned food from your pantry, it's all good! Every gift makes a difference to the more than 1.5 million charities in the United States that are raising money to support their missions.

DONOR-ADVISED FUNDS FOR GRADUATES GIVE A BOOST TO TOMORROW’S PHILANTHROPISTS

What’s hot when it comes to gifts for the college graduate? You guessed it. Once again, the ever-popular, flexible and tax effective donor-advised fund carries the day. This year, more and more parents and grandparents across the country are giving a graduating child or grandchild a donor-advised fund, pre-established and pre-funded, in the name of the graduate.

Donor-advised funds as gifts to the next generation are on the rise at innovative community foundations, including [community foundation]. “We’re inviting our donors to consider ‘gift funds’ as a way to engage their own family members in philanthropic values,” said [community foundation CEO]. “We help the donor create the fund, including online access, so that the donor can literally ‘put a bow’ on the fund establishing document–rolled up like a diploma. The donor adds a card with the website and login credentials, and presents it to the child or grandchild as a gift. Both giver and receiver love the experience.”

What's more, the donor-advised fund is a gift that keeps giving. “Many families consider family communication to be a key part of the online philanthropy experience,” commented [community foundation CEO]. “This way, the family’s values stay intact across generations.” Keeping in touch online is key. Families are becoming increasingly reliant on the donor-advised fund dialogue to share stories about the joy of giving based on personal experience. Some families even share a list of favorite charities that have meant the most to the family over the years. “Telling stories and sharing experiences is itself a gift,” added [community foundation CEO], “because what our donors’ families want more than anything is positive communication among family members, especially as children grow up, graduate, and move away.”

Family communication is always a plus, and communication across the generations is even richer when it’s focused on a topic like philanthropy. Intergenerational dialogue is a major advantage of selecting a donor-advised fund to anchor a family’s emotional connections. Hats off to donor-advised funds!