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The New Year and Charitable Giving Strategies

By Connie Hougland |

Connie Hougland

Connie Hougland

When the calendar rolls over to a new year, one of the last things we may want to think about is charitable giving. We are just coming off the season of giving, so our giving pool may very well be completely tapped out.

But what if we had more capacity than we realized when it came to charitable giving or Kingdom investing?

In our experience, we have found a couple of key ideas to gain more capacity for giving in a tax-wise manner: 1) plan to give and 2) think beyond the checkbook when it comes to giving.

What does it look like to plan to give?

  • Make giving a family affair and establish family giving goals. Discuss what kind of impact you want to have as a family. It may or may not be a specific dollar amount goal. Maybe it’s a goal to pick a cause your family is passionate about, and then serve together as a family with an organization that is making a difference in that cause. Whatever your goals may be, put them down in writing to intentionally remind and re-inspire you to act on those goals together.
  • Establish a charitable savings account. By setting aside dollars specifically for giving, you are able to participate in more giving opportunities. A donor advised fund or giving fund is an affordable option that allows you to earmark dollars for giving, gain a current year tax deduction, and grow those dollars in a tax-exempt manner for future giving.

Second, it means looking beyond the checkbook when it comes to giving?

Consider the statistics: 80 to 85 percent of giving is in the form of cash. We hear about a need, our heart gets tugged, and we jump right to our checkbook to give. The flip side, however, is that the wealth of the world is in our stuff. 91 percent of our wealth is in what we own — our portfolios, our businesses, our real estate, our cars, boats, RVs, etc.

Giving from your wealth — your assets — is a very tax-wise move. In essence, you can grow your giving capacity by turning tax dollars into giving dollars. When you give an appreciated asset, you don’t pay capital gains on the portion you give and you get a fair-market deduction for the value of the asset you gift. Those tax savings are now freed up for giving.

The possibilities are almost endless when we begin to think about things like publicly-traded stock, closely-held business, business inventory, real estate, investment property, cars, boats, etc.

The new year represents a great opportunity to write your family giving goals, make a list of all that God has entrusted you with and consider how He might have you invest in the Kingdom and change the world!

Connie Hougland is Vice President/Ministry Services at National Christian Foundation Heartland, 706 N. Lindenwood Drive, Olathe, KS 66062, 913-538-7835, www.nationalchristian.com/heartland

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