Vail Valley: Charitable giving: where head and heart meet |

Vail Valley: Charitable giving: where head and heart meet

Trish French
Vail, CO, Colorado

How can a person support organizations that help those in need? Some may choose to give their time and abilities through volunteer service, while others provide financial support.

Charitable giving provides an opportunity to engage both head and heart in making a difference. The following tips can help donors make the most of their charitable gifts:

• Choose a reputable organization. Never give to an organization without first knowing its purpose and effectiveness. The Philanthropic Advisory Service of Better Business Bureaus and National Charities Information Bureaus can help.

• Budget for donations. Systematic gifts spread throughout the year may help donors give more than if they give a one-time gift based on their financial leftovers.

• Keep good records. To deduct donations for tax purposes, people must keep appropriate record of their contributions. The type and value of one’s gift may require specific forms of acknowledgement from the recipient organization. For details, see Internal Revenue Service Publication 526.

• Take advantage of tax benefits. For a charitable donation to be tax-deductible, the charity must be recognized by the IRS as a qualified organization.

• Give generously, and wisely. From wills, living trusts, charitable gift annuities, endowments and mini-foundations to gifts of appreciated stock, retirement funds or real estate, there are many vehicles through which individuals can make charitable gifts. Special care should be used to determine the option that meets one’s financial circumstances.

Gifting some assets to IRS-recognized charities may potentially reduce capital gains taxes. Life insurance may also be an excellent option to magnify a gift.

• Consult with experts. Always consult a financial, legal and/or tax professional before putting a gifting plan into action.

When moved to make a difference, donors should remember there are many options for making a financial gift. Just be sure to explore the options and enlist appropriate support along the way. By fully planning a charitable gift, a person can ensure that both head and heart are satisfied.

Patricia French is a Certified Financial Planner with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans serving Eagle and Summit counties. She can be reached at 970-926-0251. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a Fortune 500 financial services membership organization helping nearly 3 million members. This column was prepared by Thrivent Financial for use by this representative.

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