Charitable giving: Creating your personal philanthropy strategy


Siena Wealth Advisory Group

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Siena Wealth Advisory Group

Posted on

Jul 22, 2023


Florida - Southwest

Share This

A well-planned strategy for giving back to causes that are important to you — whether through charitable giving, cash, non-cash charitable donations or volunteering — can provide a range of benefits, from reduced taxes to a sense of personal fulfillment and a meaningful legacy.  Here are the ways you can begin building a personal philanthropy strategy that will make an impact.

In this article:

  • Research charities 
  • Lower your tax bill with tax-deductible donations
  • Consider non-cash charitable contributions
  • Build your legacy with planned giving
  • Volunteer your time
  • Fit charitable giving into your overall financial plan

Research charities 

Before you decide on a non-profit or charity, do some research. Whatever charity you decide on, you’ll want to ensure they’re using their charitable donations in ways you feel are appropriate. Many worthy causes have more than one nonprofit devoted to them, so don’t settle. Websites such as and can help. 

You may also want to confirm the organization’s tax-exempt status, if that is important to you. Some nonprofits, such as international charitable organizations, may not qualify for charitable tax deductions. One way to help confirm the tax deductibility of a donation is to use the IRS tax exempt organization search tool to check an organization’s tax-exempt status.

Lower your tax bill with charitable tax deductions 

To claim a federal income tax deduction for your donations, you’ll generally need to itemize your deductions rather than claim the standard deduction, so keep and organize your receipts for future reference. Keep in mind that charitable donations will only lower your taxes if your total itemized deductions are higher than the standard deduction for that tax year.  

While cash is a straightforward way to give back, there are options to consider beyond a simple cash donation:

  • Invest in a charitable gift annuity. With this specific type of annuity, you’ll donate an upfront lump-sum to a charity and receive lifetime payouts on a fixed schedule. You’ll also potentially qualify for a partial charitable tax deduction when you make the initial donation, and the charity will keep any remaining annuity funds upon your death.
  • Use a donor-advised fund, which allows you to claim a potential charitable income tax deduction today for funds you contribute to a charitable investment account. You can make a significant contribution in one year and make non-binding recommendations on how to allocate the funds to nonprofits over a number of years, however the fund is not obligated to follow any of your recommendations.

Consider non-cash charitable contributions

Many people automatically pull out their checkbook when it’s time to give. While cash gifts may be convenient, non-cash charitable contributions are also a great option for donations. Non-cash charitable giving contributions may include: 

  • Donate appreciated stock or assets. If you donate appreciated stock that you’ve held for more than a year, then you’ll generally be able to claim a potential charitable tax deduction for the full fair market value of the stock. This approach saves paying the capital-gains tax that would result if you instead sold the stock and donated the cash. 
  • Donate your life insurance proceeds to charity. Naming a charity as beneficiary of a life insurance policy can make your charitable gift go further by leveraging premium dollars into a larger death benefit amount. Because you retain ownership of the policy, you can change beneficiaries at any time, for any reason. 

    If you instead choose to donate full ownership, rather than just proceeds, you no longer control the policy, but you’ll gain a potential income tax deduction. Also, if you continue to pay additional premiums, you can potentially deduct those payments from your income taxes as charitable donations.
  • Donate clothing and goods and get a charitable donation receipt. Donating items that are consuming space in your attic or closets can help others while providing you with a potential tax deduction. Used items generally need to be in good condition or better. Like other giving types, donations must be made before Dec. 31 to claim a tax deduction for that calendar year.

Build your legacy with planned giving 

There are several ways to make planned giving part of your estate plan, including:

  • Designate a charity as a beneficiary on permitted accounts, such as an IRA.
  • Set up a trust to benefit charitable or family interests.
    • A charitable lead trust, provides income to charity today, while leaving the remainder to named beneficiaries
    • A charitable remainder trust pays income to you or your family for a period of years with the remainder going to the charities of your choice.

Volunteer your time 

Giving doesn’t have to end with donating money or things – you can donate your time, as well or instead. 

  • Volunteering with a local charity or nonprofit. Whether you leverage your skills to teach or mentor others or serve on the board of a nonprofit, there are many opportunities to give back with your time. If you’re retired and have connections with community organizations outside of work hours, then skills-based volunteering — using your career expertise to help others — may be a natural progression for you.
  • Voluntourism, or volunteering while traveling. The dream of exploring the world while making it a better place can become a reality in retirement, when you’ll likely have a more flexible schedule. Traveling with a purpose — commonly referred to as “voluntourism” — can be done independently, though working with an accredited organization can ensure your safety, as well as the impact of your endeavors. 

Additional tips to consider: 

  • Websites like and can help you find volunteer opportunities near you that fit your interests and skills.
  • If you volunteer with a nonprofit, keep track of your volunteer auto mileage and expenses, as those may be tax deductible, too.
  • Volunteering in retirement presents unique opportunities since retirees often have more professional experience and more free time; charities especially value the contributions that retired and senior volunteers bring. 

Fit charitable giving into your overall financial plan

Once you’ve identified your personal goals and priorities for giving, an Ameriprise financial advisor can help create a charitable and personal giving strategy that fits with your overall financial goals. They’ll help create an approach that can optimize your contributions, provides potential tax benefits and reflects your values and the kind of long-term legacy you want to leave for others.

Other Articles You May Like

10 Ways to Make Extra Money During Retirement

You might already be wondering how to make extra money during your golden years''. Even though youve planned for retirement for decades, its an enormous step into the unknown as you try to manage fixed resources for the long term. As you can imagine, its not easy. According to 2022 research, 1 in 4 retirees admit theyre spending more than they can afford. As inflation continues to rise, its no surprise that retirement savings arent stretching as far as they have before.To put it in perspective, consider the popular $1K per month rule. According to this strategy, you would need to set aside $240,000 to receive $1,000 per month in income. If you want to receive $2,000, you need $480,000, etc. This means you are withdrawing no more than 5% of your retirement account per year.Thats a whopping nest egg and enough to make anyone feel a bit insecure. But you can bolster your financial means with some extra income even during your retirement. Here are some common and practical ways to earn income without returning to the daily grind of your pre retirement years.1. Tutor OnlineSince the COVID pandemic, online teaching and tutoring have become the norm. You'll find a number of online tutoring sites like Wyzant or Preply. Online teaching sites like Udemy are also popular. These are great opportunities to spend just a couple of hours in the evenings making some extra moneyand actually helping people.If you have the education and credentials, you could create an online college-level course and teach it as an adjunct professor. This option would bring in some noteworthy income. And remember that college courses dont need to be core classes. You could teach on any subject that interests you, is in demand, and is approved by the college. Youll find lots of options to explore as you consider this route.2. Do Freelance or Consulting WorkDo you have a niche field? Many retirees find that their previous occupation lends well to consulting work or taking on projects. In either case, you can earn side income without returning to the job full time. For the most part, you can make your own schedule. You can kick-off this side hustle through an existing firm or start your own side business, working completely for yourself.While this might sound stressful, especially if youve previously owned your own business, its different in retirement. Your side gig isnt your main source, or only source, of income. The pressure is off, and you can take on only those projects you choose. And if its sovereignty youre looking for, then starting your own side business would be more beneficial than gaining projects through an existing firm.3. Write for MoneyWhile it can be tricky to make a consistent, stable, full-time living writing, it makes a great side hustle. With the advent of the internet and the universal appeal of blogs, writing for an income stream has become an obtainable reality. And writing comes much easier when you choose to write in a field with which you are familiar.Many companies and digital marketing firms hire writers directly or use an online, third-party content writing firm to acquire writers. Content writing services like, ContentFly, and Contently. These sites are eager to take on writers with experience in their clients specific fields. For instance, if youre a retired investment banker, sites like would be very interested in bringing you onboard as a finance writer who specializes in investments.Typically, content writing sites pay a bit less than writing directly for a company, but they also do all the work of getting clients and managing them. All you need to do is choose your projects and write them. As long as you meet a minimum quota per month (which usually isnt much), you can continue as part of their writing team.4. Teach EnglishAround the globe, English is in high demand, which means teaching English online is a great opportunity for native speakers. As with online content writing, there are websites that can connect you with people who want to learn the language. If you have a background in education, you may have an edge on certain positions. But there are many opportunities available even for non-teachers. In most cases, you can choose to work with adults or children depending on your preference.5. Sell Hand-Crafted ItemsAre you a closet artisan? Tax preparer by day and homemade jewelry maker by night? Whatever your creative ability might be, its probably marketable. The internet has made selling goods online a fairly simple endeavor.Consider making your handmade goods at home (or from another location) and selling them through an established site or one of your own. If online isnt your thing, you can also sell goods at local craft fairs or even advertise in coffee shops or crafty thrift stores.6. Pet Sit or Dog WalkIf youre an animal lover and have a fenced-in backyard, you can offer pet services as a lucrative side gig. As an average hourly wage, pet sitting is considered by some to be the best-paid side hustle.Money aside, canine companionship offers other benefits like reducing depression and increased activity. All that dog walking and frisbee throwing adds up and gets you out in the sunshine. And the best part is that you dont even have to own your own dog, which can have a hefty price tag attached. You get to enjoy the benefits of pets without actually having to pay for one.7. Rent Out a Room on AirbnbIts not unusual for retirees to have more houses than they need. If you have an extra room or two and live in an area that draws visitors, you can rent that additional space out on sites like Airbnb. And since you get to set room availability, you dont have to worry about having paid guests when your family is in town.This can be a very flexible and passive way to earn extra money during retirement if youre comfortable sharing space. But keep in mind that you set the rules, and most people who just rent a single bedroom (with bathroom access) dont plan to do anything but sleep there.If you're fortunate enough to have a mother-in-law apartment on your property or a finished basement, you can offer more space and charge more. This type of rental often attracts families and others who want their own space during their vacation week.8. Care for Children and the ElderlyIf youve made it to retirement and still possess a healthy dose of patience, consider babysitting or caregiving for people who need assistance with daily life. You dont need specific experience, and it doesnt require nursing skills. You can decide how much time per day and week you want to spend caring for others.This can be a rewarding way to spend some of your retirement days and earn extra income as a retiree. If you dont personally know anyone in need of these services, agency websites can connect you with those who need basic care. When caring for the elderly, you might make sandwiches, act as a companion, or watch out for your patients general welfare.9. Help Out at SchoolSchools are often willing to pay for help. Whether public, private, or faith-based, most schools need substitute teachers, crossing guards, assistant athletic coaches, and assistant teachers. These roles dont require a degree in education and are often part time. Contact some schools near you and find out what they need. This is a great way to earn some extra money while staying close to home.10. Become a Mystery ShopperCompanies want feedback on their stores, products, and customer experience. They hire mystery shoppers to provide it. If you live in a large city, you'll have many mystery shopping opportunities close by. You can still be a mystery shopper if you live in a small city or rural area if youre willing to drive a little further.You can sign up with a mystery shopping agency and explore local opportunities with companies who have need of your services. These companies are looking for people who fit their product or companys customer demographics. If you are the age, gender, etc. of their primary customer base, they will be interested in bringing you on board as a mystery shopper.Bottom LineMany retirees find peace of mind by making some extra money during retirement. It can be helpful to take on a low-pressure side gig while you can. This list of common ways to supplement your income during retirement isnt conclusive but should get you thinking in the right direction. But remember to take on gigs and projects that you have familiarity with or enjoy. This will make the endeavor more enjoyable and less stressful.TYE Medical offers premium incontinence products in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels. Shop our online store for free and discreet shipping on all orders. 

The Top 5 Misconceptions about Long-term Care Medicaid Eligibility

What You Have HeardAsk yourself, was the info you heard from a Certified Medicaid Planner?Medicaid Misconception #1 - You can only have $2,000.FACTSSingle applicants have a resource limit of $2,000. (in 2024) A married applicant has a resource limit of about $150,000. (in 2024)Medicaid Misconception #2 - Your home will be taken from you if you are on Medicaid.FACTSAll applicants are allowed to have 1 home and 1 car. There are ways to avoid Medicaid estate recovery, an applicant can receive Medicaid and keep their home.Medicaid Misconception #3 - You make too much money.FACTS If you are over the income limit, Beneficent can provide the legal steps using the Medicaid code to bypass being over the income limit.Medicaid Misconception #4 - You must spend down to $2,000 to qualify for Medicaid.FACTSThis is an option, however not your only option. If you want to preserve the hard-earned assets you or your loved one has worked their entire life, you can!Medicaid Misconception #5 - Why doesnt everyone apply for Long-term Care Medicaid if the other outcome statements are true?FACTSMany are deceived by misinformation and preconceived notions. There's a game-changer you need to know about - Certified Medicaid Planners (CMP) - we know the rules and regulations.You can find all the CMPs in the United States here, (  there arent too many of us! Need to schedule an appointment with one of our Certified Medicaid Planners at Beneficent? Book here ( or call our office (719.645.8350) for more appointment times.

Slow and Steady: A smart way to invest

Youve probably heard stories about fortunate investors who get in the ground floor of a new, hot company and quickly make a fortune. But while these things may happen, they are exceedingly rare and often depend on hard-to-duplicate circumstances and they really dont represent a viable way of investing for ones goals. A far more tried-and-true approach is the slow-and-steady method.To follow this strategy, consider these suggestions: Start small and add more when you can. When youre first starting out in the working world, you may not have a lot of extra money with which to invest, especially if youre carrying student loan debt. But one of the key advantages of the slow-and-steady method is that it does not require large investment sums to get going. If you can afford to put away even $50 or $100 a month into individual stocks or mutual funds, month after month, you may be surprised and pleased at how your account can grow. And when your salary goes up, you can put away more money each month. Take advantage of an employers retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or similar tax-advantaged retirement plan, try to take full advantage of it. Again, if youre just beginning your career, you may not be able to put away much in this type of plan, but even a small amount is better than nothing. And as soon as you can possibly afford it, try to put in enough to earn your employers matching contribution, if one is offered. These types of plans can offer some key benefits and perhaps the biggest one is that investing is automatic, in that the money is moved directly from your paycheck into the investments youve chosen within your 401(k) or other plan. Be prepared for downturns. The financial markets will always experience ups and downs. So, you need to be prepared for those times when your investment statements may show negative results. By understanding that these downturns are a normal part of the investment environment, you can avoid overreactions, such as selling quality investments with good fundamentals just because their price has temporarily dropped. Chart your progress regularly. A key element of a slow-and-steady investment approach is knowing how well its working. But its important to measure your progress in a way that makes sense for you. So, for example, instead of measuring your portfolios performance against that of an external stock market index, such as the S&P 500, you may want to assess where you are today versus one year ago, or whether the overall progress youre making is sufficient to help you meet the financial goals youve set for yourself well into the future. Another reason not to use a market index as a measuring tool is that the index only looks at a certain pool of investments, which, in the case of the S&P 500, is simply the largest companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. But long-term investors try to own a range of assets U.S. and foreign stocks, bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit, and so on. Slow and steady may not sound like an exciting approach to investing. But its often the case that a little less excitement, and a lot more diligence, can prove to be quite effective.  Chad Choate III, AAMS 828 3rd Avenue West Bradenton, FL 34205 941-462-2445 This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC