Letter to the Editor: 10 tips for year-end giving

To the editor:

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we are reminded that now is a great time for giving. When you make a donation by December 31 to the Allamakee County Community Foundation, you aren’t just giving money - you’re making a difference in our community, Here are 10 ways to make the most of your year-end giving. 

1. Talk to your advisor: Before making any significant gift to charity, consult with your CPA, attorney or other advisor to understand the impact on your taxes and estate.

2. Consider your income; Take time to understand your tax liability for the year. Did your unearned income increase? Did you sell any appreciated assets? The answers to these questions may determine how much you want to give by December 31.

3. Review your stocks: If you’d like to make a year-end charitable gift, consider giving appreciated stock. Selling stock will incur capital gains on the appreciation, but if you gift stock, you will receive a charitable deduction for the current market value of the stock - just as you would with a cash gift.

4. Give early and complete your gift by December 31: A gift by check is complete when mailed (postmarked) to the charitable recipient, even if not cashed until the following year. Gifts by credit card are complete when your credit card account is charged. Gifts of stock and real estate are more complex; don’t wait until late December to make these gifts as it may be too late to make the necessary arrangements.

5. Know the organizations you support: While there are many worthy causes, only donations to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations are tax-deductible. If you give through the Community Foundation, we will document the status of all non-profits prior to making a gift on your behalf and can help you identify organizations that are qualified to receive your gift.

6. Do you have more than enough? If you’re receiving taxable income from retirement plan assets or life insurance policies, there are a number of tax-advantaged ways to make these assets work for you and the causes you support. Talk with your professional advisor.

7. Explore employer gift matching programs. Many companies offer gift matching programs that can increase - even double - the impact of your gift.

8. Give now - decide later: If you are planning for a charitable tax deduction in 2014 but are undecided about which non-profits to support, consider opening a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation. You can claim a deduction for contributions to your fund now even though distributions from the fund might be made in future years. A donor-advised fund can be set up in one meeting.

9. Create a giving plan: The Community Foundation can help you create a giving plan to help you think strategically about how you give and to what organizations. This ensures that your donations make the greatest impact on the causes you care about while maximizing tax advantages.

10. Let the Community Foundation do the legwork: Working with a philanthropic advisor at the Community Foundation gives you access to our extensive knowledge of the local non-profit community and the broad charitable needs of our region - so you can stay informed about the organizations you support and the effect your giving will have on the future of our community.

The Allamakee County Community Foundation was formed in 2005 as an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (CFGD). Questions? Call Betty Steege at 563-586-2046, CFGD Director of Affiliate Foundations M.J. Smith at 563-880-9992, or visit www.allamakeefoundation.org.


Rachelle Howe

Board Chair

Allamakee County

Community Foundation