Do you know that there are so many excellent and easy ways that you can support your favorite charity? Perhaps you’ve donated your time by volunteering, or maybe you donated a few articles of clothing that you no longer need, or even possibly you went to a great extent in organizing a drive of some sort to raise funds for an issue close to your heart. Still, these are all excellent options, however, just in case you are not aware, one of the most accommodating methods you can use today in supporting your favorite charitable foundation is through perpetual planned giving.

Have you heard of a legacy gift? Well, it is the same concept. Planned giving is simply a process that allows one to donate a planned gift at a specific time. A perfect example is a will. Likewise, in planned giving, you have an option to give a gift that you may never have been able to afford while alive. So, in essence, you create a donation now to donate later to an organization of your choice. It’s planned because you put preparation and consideration into effect, and it’s not solely dependent upon death.

Planned giving is a familiar term associated with charities, and interestingly, small non-profit organizations are eager to work with donors on planned giving, just like the bigger non-profit ones. However, be sure to do a little work to familiarize yourself with the various giving platforms first, and think about the significant assets that you may have.

If you have significant assets, first things first, do consult your accountant or financial planner. They have your best interest at heart, and will be extremely beneficial in helping you choose your best option. Your decision can lead you to the best choice in your gift-giving, as well as tax benefits. Some individuals may think that if you leave money to a charity, it will reduce what one can leave to family. However, due to tax regulations, you can gift the money that you would have had to pay back in taxes, and reap the rewards of a tax break upon death for your family.

Three typical types of planned gifts you can easily make:

  1. Outright Gifts use appreciated assets as a form of cash. I.e., donations of cash, stocks and bonds, real estate, and physical personal property.
  2. Gifts providing income and/or other benefits in return to donors.
  3. Gifts payable to a charity upon the death of the donor.

Tax Benefits

You can look forward to a variety of tax benefits upon making a planned gift. They include taking a deduction for the market value of the asset, and consequently, if an asset is transferred, there is no payment of any capital gain tax. Also, if a donor pays a gift upon death, it is tax-exempt from estate tax. With all this in consideration, it’s a good measure to understand how to leave a planned gift to the charitable foundation of your choice, you are leaving a legacy.

How can I assign a planned gift to the charity of my choice?


Property given by will is a bequest. This is a beneficial option towards leaving money to your favorite charity in a living trust or will. Moreover, bequests can be explicitly made to family or friend’s institutions in addition to charities.

Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds

Do you want to increase the impact of your donation? Consider stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. You will receive substantial tax savings. Furthermore, appreciated funds are some of the most popular assets to donate.

Life Insurance and Retirement Plans 

An easy way to ensure your giving legacy continues after death is by delegating your favorite charity as a beneficiary to your life insurance and/or retirement plans. 

Charitable Gift Annuities

Charitable gift annuities can be a good idea depending on your goals, as you won’t necessarily get the most significant payout, however, it will help support a charity of your choice. Charitable gift annuities enable you to make a generous donation. Upon receipt, the organization will provide you with set income, dependent on the amount you donated. Do make sure to check your appropriate state laws since they vary state to state. 

Donor-Advised Funds

Do you need to maximize your tax benefits now? Creating a donor-advised fund will enable you to do this as well, it will ensure that the organization you support will continue to be supported in the future. Think of it this way, your personal charitable savings account. It’s created by a donor with contributions of cash, stocks, and other assets, giving you immediate tax deductions for the gift. Donors can request grants from the fund over a period of time for their favorite charity. An interesting note is that donor-advised funds were created as early as the 1930s, and grew in popularity in the 1990s, as you can see, they are still prevalent today.

Real Property

Real property can include land, buildings, and machinery. Do check with the organization you wish to donate to, because not all non-profits are capable of accepting real property. For example, if you donate a house, you will only receive a tax deduction if the donation is made to a non-profit that is approved by the IRS. 

What will my charity do with my donation? Non-profits have the option of selling goods (property) to raise funds. A good example of this would be to an educational institution.

Leaving a planned gift can be one of the most challenging yet meaningful legacies you can ever accomplish in your lifetime, or after you have passed away. Your gift will be a part of a charity that’s meaningful to you.  It’s essential to work with your financial advisor and charity to find the most beneficial giving option for your situation. Involve your family in the process, as this can be a sensitive and very important discussion.