Charitable Giving REDEFINED

Charitable Giving REDEFINED

Man holding 'give' message

For many, the shared challenges we’ve faced over the past few years has brought charitable giving to the forefront of their minds. Each year, we work with Clients to make charitable gifts through several traditional methods – Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRAs, donating appreciated shares of stock through Donor Advised Funds, and organizing charitable bequests through your estate plan – but the pandemic has revealed more creative ways to give. In this piece, we explore less traditional giving strategies and provide resources to maximize the impact of your charitable giving.

Resources for Maximizing the Impact of One’s Charitable Gift

With social tensions mounting on top of economic hardships, many people are finding themselves convicted to help and give to others where they can. Emotions and energy can make the process of identifying which cause to support feel obvious, but it can feel overwhelming to decide which specific charity to donate to. One way to help you make this decision is to learn more about how different charities help your desired cause. We recommend using multiple websites to screen for charities to give you the confidence that the organizations you choose will deliver on their promises. Consider the following resources:

Beyond that, the American Heart Association has a vast number of resources to aid donors in making an informed choice when supporting their desired cause. The website offers template language for letters, wills, and trusts; gift calculators to identify the financial benefits of different types of gifts; guides that describe various types of giving strategies; and a glossary of terms for a better understanding of what this all means.

Important Considerations When Making a Large Donation

Communication is a vital yet easily forgotten aspect of giving. Charities want to know the money is coming, and you want to know that your money is being put to work the way you want it to be. When considering making a large gift to a charity, do not hesitate to reach out to the charity, talk with them, and discuss their vision for their donation. Consider your desires to the following questions:

  • First, do you want to remain anonymous, or do you want to be known as a donor?
    • While many donors prefer to remain anonymous, many charities are eager to recognize and thank their generous donors.
  • Second, what are you hoping to achieve with your donation?
    • This question is critical, especially if you are leaving a bequest to a charity in your will. It is possible that whatever you hope for your money to achieve today may not be around within that organization in 10-20 years when the charity receives the donation. If you specify your intent for the funds, the charity can apply them in a way that honors your wishes, even if the exact division of the charity no longer exists.

Charitable Giving Redefined

There are many other creative ways you can give outside of writing a check to charity. Below is a list of unique giving methods that you may consider if you’re feeling charitably inclined.

Other Ways to Donate Money:

  • Share the Gift of Food
    • In recent months, Dave and Elissa have made several food donations including sending pizzas to local fire stations and police stations in the San Francisco and Vienna areas, and sending catered meals to a large group of neighbors.
  • Support Organizations by Pre-Purchasing Services
    • Gift cards are creative way to support restaurants and local businesses that may be suffering due to shelter-in-place and curfew restrictions. To double your impact, you may consider sending those gift cards to other organizations that are also struggling. For example, a friend of ours purchased gift cards from a local restaurant to be sent to the members of the San Francisco Ballet.
    • Beyond giving to charity yourself, TisBest allows you to purchase charity gift cards that you can give to someone you care about to help them support a charity that matters to them.
    • To support the United States Post Office, many people, including Yeske Buie, purchased extra stamps – the Post Office can benefit from the additional cash flow now, and we’ll use the stamps as we need them!
  • Maximize Your Impact
    • There are several organizations that will supplement your giving efforts:
      • Founded by American YouTubers Mark Rober and MrBeast, TeamTrees has planted over 22 million trees worldwide. $1 donated = one tree planted.
      • Carbon Fund applies a price tag to a pound of CO2 emissions, creating an avenue for individuals to offset their carbon footprints.
      • Ecosia is a search engine based in Berlin, Germany, that donates 80% or more of its profits to nonprofit organizations that focus on reforestation. It calls itself “the search engine that plants trees.”
      • Amazon Smile donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.

Helping Animals in Need:

  • National organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offer tips on becoming an animal activist in your community.
  • Many local animal shelters appreciate donations of useful resources to support the animals under their care.
    • People can donate used blankets and towels, bake homemade doggie treats, or even volunteer their laps for cat-sitting.
  • A favorite of Dave and Elissa’s, Muttville seeks homes for senior dogs. If anyone knows Dave and Elissa, they know they love their dogs Missy and Gabby!

Volunteering Your Intangible Resources

  • Many will argue that time is our most valuable resource. Offering your time can go a long way to help, especially if you have a useful skill or a passion to help a community in need.
  • Needs may arise among your church congregation, coworkers, or neighbors. Simply asking if there are any needs that need to be met – for food, shelter, money, organizing an event, or other needs – can open up a multitude of opportunities to serve and give.
  • In the same way that matches employees with recruiters, Catchafire matches a volunteer’s unique skills and abilities with nonprofits who need those skills.
  • Many examples exist of professionals utilizing their skills to create resources or raise funds for the causes they support.
    • As an example, YouTube comedian Craig Thompson (known as “Mini Ladd”) regularly hosts online streaming events in which he reacts to video clips submitted by some of his nearly 6 million fans. All proceeds from these livestreams are donated to the charity of his choice: The Thirst Project.
    • Our own Yusuf Abugideiri gives back to his own profession by doing pro bono financial planning for cancer patients and their families through the Foundation for Financial Planning.
    • For Clients who are artistically inclined, donating works of art is an impactful use of personal talents.
    • Lastly, there is always a thirst for knowledge in this world. If anyone is knowledgeable about something, education and mentorship is a wonderful way to give back and inspire future generations.


As we’ve shared, there are many ways for those who are charitably inclined to support organizations and causes they care about. Even if resources are limited, opportunities still exist to make a difference in your community. If the tools shared here have sparked any desire to take action, we encourage you to reach out to us to continue the conversation.