December 27, 2019

Effective Charitable Giving During the Festive Season

Author National Philanthropic Trust

The festive season ignites the spirit of giving in all of us.  As you gather with family and loved ones to celebrate, this is a great time to assess your charitable giving strategy. Here are three things to keep in mind as you prepare to support the causes that mean the most to you during giving season:

1. Do your research.
With thousands of charities to choose from, finding the best ones for the causes you wish to support can feel overwhelming. A good place to start is with a charity’s mission statement. Read it carefully to see if it resonates with you. Next, take a look at how the charity supports its mission, how it captures its results and evaluates its success, and whether it is adequately staffed and resourced to carry out its work. Reviewing a charity’s financial statement will also help you determine if it has adequate funding resources and whether it manages them well.

2. Beware of scams.
Legitimate charities and scammers often use the same methods to ask for donations – whether by email, phone, text or letter. To protect yourself, take steps to make sure you know who you are dealing with. In particular, pay attention to online appeals. Even if the charity is authentic, you should visit its website directly. If you have received an email appeal with a link, close the link and go to the charity’s website in a new tab to donate directly. The key is for you to initiate contact. Trust your instincts – if you have any questions about a charity, call the charity directly.

3. Choose the right giving vehicle for you.
Our years of experience have taught us that generous individuals can achieve greater impact when they use an efficient structure for their charitable giving. Using a vehicle like a donor-advised fund can help you contribute a variety of assets – including publicly traded securities, closely held business interests, restricted stock, private equity and other complex assets – to charity in a tax-efficient way. DAFs also offer flexibility by allowing you to contribute assets (and receive tax benefits) now and recommend grants to charitable recipients over time.

The process is straightforward:

•  Open a donor-advised fund account and name it what you wish
•  Contribute assets to your DAF and receive a tax receipt for your gift
•  Recommend how the assets in your DAF should be invested with the manager of your choice (available above certain DAF account thresholds)
•  Recommend grants from your DAF to charities around the world at the time of your choosing

As 2019 comes to an end, a donor-advised fund at NPT UK can help you support the causes you care about and maximise your charitable impact in a tax-efficient way.  We handle the administration so you can spend time and energy on what matters most – deciding where and how to give. To find out more about setting up a donor-advised fund with NPT UK, contact us.


Natalie Pinon is Director of Development at NPT UK. She has over 15 years’ experience working with philanthropists and impact investors to manage their giving.