WSJ: Help Clients Avoid Charitable-Giving Mistakes


This is the time of year when everyone is thinking about charitable giving.  I spoke with writer Veronica Dagher of the Wall Street Journal last week about on this subject  and the mistakes to avoid.  Here are some excerpts from the article as well as a quote from me. 

Charitable giving season is in full force, and advisers’ clients are being bombarded with donation requests. Many will inevitably make mistakes in how and why they decide to give, even if their intentions are good. Here some advisers describe the mistakes they most often see, and how they try to help keep clients from making them.
Clients can get fooled by charities whose names or marketing make them sound better than they actually are. Mr. Christenson suggests checking out a charity’s financial statements, to see how they handle money and how efficient they are in delivering charitable goods and services. “Don’t necessarily rely on a suggestion from a friend or a family member,” he tells them.

Some other tips from the article include:

  • Leaving a bequest in your will to your favorite charity instead of giving now to avoid outliving your money.

  • Use a Donor Advised Fund to claim a deduction for several years' worth of giving at one time, to offset taxes from an income windfall.

  • Donate your time at a charity to learn more about firsthand before giving money.

  • You must substantiate a tax deduction for charitable contributions of $250 or more.

The full article can be found here