Simplify Your Giving This Holiday Season

Nov. 20, 2017 null

By Lynne Yontz, CAP®, Chief Charitable Giving Officer


Not long ago, a generous individual came to me with a stack of direct mail solicitations from local and national charities. The stack was high and contained colorful appeals from many worthy causes ranging from education to the arts and much more. She appeared to be on every mailing list in existence!


She and her husband are active members of the community who were now feeling overwhelmed. They needed a plan for strategic giving, not just a checkbook and a roll of stamps.


As year-end approaches, requests from organizations doing great things pour in. And there’s good reason for that. A significant amount of charitable giving happens in the fourth quarter.


No matter if it’s $100 or $100,000 you have available for charitable giving, having a plan for giving is always a good idea.


As you think about your own contributions at the end of this year, here are three ideas to help maximize your giving:


1.       If you plan to give, talk to your financial advisor.

Discuss what assets to contribute and the different options that are available to simplify your giving and maximize your tax benefit. We often think of giving with our checkbooks or cash, but you may have appreciated stock or other assets that could offer a more tax-wise way to give.


2.       Think about what matters most to you.

Ask yourself this question: If you could spend two weeks volunteering for any cause or nonprofit, what would it be? This may be a good indication to consider it for a financial contribution.


3.       Get your family involved.

Giving together is a great way for families to share interests and values. When children or grandchildren are involved in giving (and volunteering) they learn the joy and importance of giving back, helping others and being involved in their communities.


The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines is here to partner with you as you consider your charitable giving goals this holiday season. We are here to help simplify your giving through charitable giving funds that you can establish with a tax-deductible contribution. From there you can focus on the joy of giving by supporting the causes you care about over time or as needs arise. To explore the possibilities for your personalized giving strategy, contact me at or visit




Disclaimer: This article may contain general information about legal issues and tax issues. The article does not contain legal advice and/or tax advice to any person. Materials are provided "as is" and without warranty of any kind, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for any purpose, or noninfringement.