The Season for Giving

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Giving is a good thing to do any time of year.  But in America we have a very special Season for Giving.  These last five weeks of the year offer a great opportunity for fundraisers to remind their donors about the tax advantages of giving to organizations they love.  Here are a couple of suggestions.

First, make a direct appeal to senior citizens.  Scan your database for donors over 70 ½ years of age.  Communicate with them by direct mail and by email, pointing out the special situation that they are in.  Individuals over 70 ½ can make a gift directly from an individual retirement account.  People this age are required to make some withdrawals from their IRA’s, and those withdrawals are considered income and are taxable.  However, the money withdrawn for charitable purposes is not considered income and is therefore not taxed.  Don’t forget that most donors make the largest gifts of their lives during what they perceive to be their older years.

Also, make an appeal to all donors.  Let them know that a gift of stock or mutual funds can be given without the donor having to pay tax on the capital gains.  If the donor has held this investment over a period of rapid returns, such as the one we have seen in recent years, the savings to the donor can be significant.

Finally, remind all your donors that gifts to your organization are tax deductible, and show them how your mission deserves their support in the season of giving.  And of course, be sure to acknowledge their gift in a timely way.  This will provide the donor valuable documentation at tax time, while giving you the opportunity to say a very sincere “thank you!”

How fortunate we are to have a Season for Giving!  Don’t hesitate to point out the tax advantages of giving, but—much more importantly—don’t forget to celebrate the Season for Giving with your donors!

by: Steven Murphy, Senior Advisor, HUB Philanthropic Solutions

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