• Maximizing Charitable Giving: Strategies for Making an Impact

    Tips to Help You Practice Meaningful and Strategic Philanthropy

    Many people find that being philanthropic with their money brings them joy. After all, being charitable can be a meaningful experience and is a way to put your core values into practice. Recent data confirms this, as the 2023 Giving USA Foundation report has shown that 64% of Americans donated to charity in the previous year. If being philanthropic fits with your personal and financial values, here are six strategies to help you maximize your charitable giving impact.

    Charitable Giving Impact Tip #1: Identify the Causes You Care About

    With finite resources, it’s important to be intentional about where to donate your money. Making a list of non-profit organizations that you have given to in the past, and perhaps adding some new organizations whose work you care about, is a good start. Looking over your list, consider what your current priorities in life are, and choose those that are in alignment with your values. This exercise can help you to ensure that your charitable dollars are supporting not just the causes that are appealing to you for help, but the causes that are currently important to you.

    Charitable Giving Impact Tip #2: Consider Streamlining Your Giving

    Speaking of those charitable appeals, it’s likely that you receive a multitude of donation requests from worthy nonprofits throughout the year. However, philanthropy isn’t like investing, where diversification is a recommended strategy. To maximize the impact of your philanthropy, you may consider streamlining your donations to charities that are akin and most closely align with your core values. For example, if animal welfare is important to you, you may want to focus your giving on shelters or animal and wildlife protection organizations. In this way, your giving achieves a greater impact across the spectrum of the cause you care most about.

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    Charitable Giving Impact Tip #3: Involve Your Family

    Philanthropy is about more than money. It can also involve sharing your values with future generations and teaching them about meaningful ways that they can make a difference in the lives of others. Gathering your family together to actively participate in charitable giving decisions can also create a new shared tradition. While together, you’re helping to instill the spirit of giving, while offering each family member the opportunity to share with everyone the causes that are most important to them. There are a variety of ways to maximize your family’s charitable giving, including pooling money together toward a selected cause, establishing a fund that allows family members to choose how to direct their donations, or annually rotating the selection of charitable causes. When you instill the habit of giving, you are also building a values-based tradition that will positively impact both your family members and the lives of others.

    Charitable Giving Impact Tip #4: Research the Charities Carefully

    Take the time to determine the best charities that will accomplish your family’s charitable goals. Knowing the mission of each organization is the best place to start. Be sure the mission and values of your chosen nonprofits align with your giving intentions. Also ensure that the finances and management of the organization are sound. Look into what percentage of charitable donations directly support the cause or programs, as opposed to administration and overhead. There are reputable tools to help you gain this knowledge such as Charity Navigator, GuideStar, Charity Watch, and Charities Review Council.

    Charitable Giving Impact Tip #5: Maximize Your Gift

    Having determined where you want to focus your philanthropy, there are some steps you can take to maximize your giving:

    • Give directly to avoid the middleman. Some nonprofits utilize the services of professional fundraisers, paying them anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of the proceeds received. Often these solicitations are via phone, so avoid this and give directly to the charitable organization.
    • Avoid using credit cards. Nonprofits usually have to pay a credit card fee of 3 to 5 percent, which reduces the amount of your donation and thus the level of your charitable giving impact.
    • Look into employer matching gift programs. Many employers offer the opportunity to match your gift, thus increasing your charitable contribution and your impact.
    • Gifting appreciated assets that you have held for more than one year as a direct gift can provide you with tax benefits while helping the charity of your choice. You may also consider establishing a donor-advised fund (DAF) which can also provide you with tax savings.

    Note: A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable investment account that you establish at a public charitable foundation for the sole purpose of supporting nonprofit organizations that you care about. They provide a flexible way to donate with either cash or securities, and they can provide many tax advantages. A DAF can prove to be a strategically beneficial tool to consider in your philanthropic efforts, though it won’t be right for every family.

    Charitable Giving Impact Tip #6: Giving Beyond Money

    Donating money isn’t the only way to practice philanthropy. Time and talent can be just as valuable to a charitable organization, and many organizations need the skills of volunteers. Whether you’re giving at the financial level that you would like to or not, volunteering can help you feel more connected to the causes you care about.

    Concluding Thoughts on Maximizing Your Charitable Gifting Impact

    Practicing philanthropy through the giving of your time, talent, or money to make an impact on the charities and causes you care about can be very meaningful for both you and the organizations of your choice. Often, it doesn’t take a lot to make a difference. Be comfortable with the level of your giving and consider some of the strategies offered here to maximize your impact and instill the value of philanthropy in your family, as well.

    Illuminated Advisors is the original creator of the content shared herein. I have been granted a license in perpetuity to publish this article on my website’s blog and share its contents on social media platforms. I have no right to distribute the articles, or any other content provided to me, or my Firm, by Illuminated Advisors in a printed or otherwise non-digital format. I am not permitted to use the content provided to me or my firm by Illuminated Advisors in videos, audio publications, or in books of any kind.

  • Clients of Lane Hipple Make Christmas Possible for Local Families

    From left: Heather Hackl (SVE Principal), Melissa Rush (Lane Hipple Director of Client Services), and Maureen Ioannucci (SVE School Counselor)

    As we do each year, Lane Hipple sought out a giving opportunity that would help improve Christmas for local families in need. After reaching out to schools throughout Burlington County, our team – led by Director of Client Services Melissa Rush – was compelled to partner with South Valley Elementary School and Upper Elementary School, both located in Moorestown, NJ. We learned of families that are going through tough times, some that are homeless, and others being helped regularly by the school with lunches, snacks, and coats.

    When informed of this opportunity to come together and help these neighborhood families, our clients quickly took action and began showing up at our office on 155 E. 3rd Street to drop off gift cards, toys, clothes, books, and more. We provided general guidelines to make sure the gifts would be put to good use. There was a family of four boys in need of winters coats, gloves, and food; another family seeking pretend play toys for their special needs daughter and trucks for her older brother; and a mother of a 6- and 10-year old in desperate need of clothes who, when she discovered the school could help, replied with a text saying, “I wasn’t going to pull off Christmas this year. I’m crying now!!”

    After only ten days, Lane Hipple collected $2,400 in gift cards and a substantial number of gifts to drop-off to both schools. Now, as a result of the amazing generosity of our clients, team members, and owners – and with the help of the South Valley Elementary School and Upper Elementary School – these local Moorestown families will be able to have the Christmas they had hoped for.  

    It is extremely important to our team to give back to the local community and help those who are less fortunate. In 2021, Lane Hipple partnered with social services organization, Family Promise of Burlington County, and collected an abundance of daily life supplies, over $3,000 in cash and gift cards, and even provided two families with Christmas trees and gifts for their children.

    To our clients:

    Thank you for being a huge part of this mission. Your thoughtfulness and kindness means as much to us as it does to the families you have helped. We wish you all a very happy holiday season, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

  • Five Charitable Giving Strategies that Come with Tax Advantages

    Enjoy the Financial Benefits of Your Philanthropic Efforts

    Charitable giving tax advantages are probably not the first thing on your mind when you decide to make a philanthropic gift. After all, deciding to give to an organization or cause that you care about is a personal decision reflective of your values, passions, and hopes for the future. Your philanthropy helps those in need, and maybe even satisfies something deep in your soul. However, those are not the only benefits. When you use the right charitable giving strategies, you can also minimize your tax burden. Below, we’ll discuss five such strategies to help you maximize the positive benefits of your giving.

    1.    Whenever possible, itemize.

    In 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which almost doubled the standard deduction you’re allowed to take on your taxes due to charitable giving. Now, you can deduct cash gifts you make throughout the year, up to 60% of your adjusted gross income. Despite this increase, or perhaps because of it, less than 10% of taxpayers are itemizing their deductions now. If you’re among the majority failing to itemize your deductions, you may be missing out on some of the advantageous tax benefits that your philanthropy makes possible.

    While itemizing your charitable giving can be a smart tax strategy, it’s not necessarily the right move for everyone. To determine if itemizing is right for you, you’ll want to first add up the total of your allowable deductions. This should include deductions such as any mortgage interest and property, state, and local income tax. You’ll then want to consider what the standard deduction for that tax year is. (See 2022 standard deductions here.) If your total amount of deductions are greater than the standard deduction, then itemizing is likely the right move for you.

    2.    Bunch your gifts.

    If you’re committed to giving back on an annual basis, one of the charitable giving tax advantages you may benefit from is bunching your donations. Bunching is when you prefund your charitable gifts into one tax year rather than spreading them out among multiple years. This is typically done by donating appreciated securities or by putting your gifts into a donor-advised fund (more on this below). By doing so, you’re able to make your itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction threshold, and ultimately, minimize your tax bill for the current year.

    3.    Think “out of the box” with your charitable giving.

    While giving cash is great, there are ways that you can give to charities you love outside of simply writing them a check. A great way to give back while also being tax-savvy is to give stocks, bonds, or other appreciated securities directly to the charity. By gifting an appreciated stock directly, rather than selling it for a profit, both you and the charity will be able to avoid capital gains tax on the appreciation. What’s more? You may be eligible to receive a tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the shares you donate. So, you’ll be able to maximize your impact while also enjoying significant tax advantages.

    4.    Create a donor-advised fund.

    Establishing a donor-advised fund (DAF) is another tax-savvy way to give back – and not just where bunching gifts is concerned, as mentioned above. DAFs are personal charitable investment accounts that you can fund with assets such as cash, stocks, or bonds. With a DAF, you get to strategize how you want your gifted (but not yet granted) dollars to be invested, and from there you can recommend when you wish for the money to be given to any qualified charitable organization you choose, on a timetable that works with your financial plans. As your money sits in a DAF, the funds are invested and, therefore, growing tax-free, which may allow you to give even more money to causes you’re passionate about.

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    5.    Gift your Required Minimum Distribution.

    At the age of 72, you’re required to begin taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your retirement accounts, whether you need the additional income or not. Typically, when this is done, you are then required to pay income tax on these distributions. However, if you gift your distribution to a charity instead, the IRS allows the distribution to remain tax-free. So, if you don’t need your RMD to support your lifestyle, you may want to consider donating some or all of it to a qualified non-profit instead.

    Gifting your RMD should be considered as one of your charitable giving strategies when possible because it allows you to accomplish four things: satisfying your RMD requirement, supporting a charity that you care about, avoiding having to pay the taxes that come with your distribution, and mitigating the risk that your distribution may have pushed you into a higher tax bracket.

    Are You Maximizing Your Charitable Giving Tax Deductions?

    Philanthropy is a meaningful way to enrich lives – both your own and those that are impacted by the charities you choose to support. Giving back not only helps to immediately address critical needs in your local community and across the globe, but it creates ripple effects for the future, too. By giving yourself, you can inspire those around you to take up philanthropy and make a difference, too. While there’s no “one size fits all” charitable giving strategy to accomplish this, there are a plethora of ways that you can choose to give back while also personally benefitting from charitable giving tax advantages.

    If seeking to create impact beyond yourself is a priority for you, contact Lane Hipple Wealth Management Group at our Moorestown, NJ office by calling 856-638-1855, emailing info@lanehipple.com, or to schedule a complimentary discovery call, use this link to find a convenient time.

    Illuminated Advisors is the original creator of the content shared herein. We have been granted a license in perpetuity to publish this article on our website’s blog and share its contents on social media platforms. We have no right to distribute the articles, or any other content provided to our Firm, by Illuminated Advisors in a printed or otherwise non-digital format. We are not permitted to use the content provided to us or my firm by Illuminated Advisors in videos, audio publications, or in books of any kind.