Carrying Charity Beyond One Season

by Brian Gallagher

At the end of the year, there is always a push to help the poverty stricken and the underserved in our communities, as well as charities across the world. Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States, is touted as a “global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.”

However, as healthcare leaders – and anyone else, for that matter – we can make charitable contributions throughout the year.

We are constantly approached to participate in or donate to a variety of causes and organizations. It can be difficult to balance the many aspects of everyday life, making it a challenge to “find the time” to commit to additional activities. Therefore, when contemplating a charitable gift, whether it is time or financial contributions, I try to consider the following.

~ Carefully Select Your Charity or Cause.
There are many charities, philanthropic projects, and organizations in need of support. Choose a limited number to support based on your values and beliefs. Then, do your homework and research the charity that you have chosen to see what type of assistance they need.

~ Give Your Skills.
Writing a check isn’t the only way to give and is not always the most effective. Volunteering is a rewarding experience and can have a significant impact on the lives of others. Whether it is the Oasis of Hope in Grand Rapids or the Helen M. Nickless Clinic in Bay City, there are countless medical clinics in need of providers to donate their time and talent. Organizations like Big Sunday can match up any volunteer to the right opportunity.

~ Budget Your Gifts.
Include charitable gifts in your annual or monthly budgets. This lessens the impact on your finances and offers more consistent support. Remember, you don’t need to be wealthy to make a big difference in the life of someone in need.

~ Consult Your Financial Planner and Accountant.
We all want to maximize the tax benefits of charitable giving, and charitable donations can play a valuable role in your financial and tax strategies. By consulting with your accountant or financial planner, they may provide options for you to have an increased tax deduction or reduction and reduce/avoid an estate or capital gains tax.

~ Review Your Charity Plans.
Our interests and abilities to support different organizations change over time. Try to review your charitable donation plan on an annual basis and revise it according to which commitments have been the most rewarding.

~ Consider Planned Giving.
Planned giving affords the opportunity to make a donation to your charity at the time of your death. There are many different options(i.e., trusts, life insurance policies and gifts of appreciated property) available so that you can assure your donation will have the greatest impact on your cause. Contact your financial planner for more information.

Supporting Charity Throughout the Year

December may be coined the Season of Giving, but charities are in need 12 months of the year. With these simple strategies, it is possible to spread your donations overtime. This limits your financial burden and allows you to give time when you are most available, and ensures the existence of well-supported charities throughout the year. Consider utilizing this Season of Giving to create a charitable donation plan for the coming year.

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