Empowering Change: Your 2023 Guide to Charitable Giving

People volunteering at a food bank.
In a world filled with countless opportunities to make a difference, the act of giving has the power to transform lives, communities, and the very bones of society. Giving is about being a part of something greater than yourself; it's a force that binds us together in a shared commitment to positive change.

In 2022, Americans gave a staggering $499.22 billion to charities, showcasing that collective generosity can make a monumental impact. There are several ways to give to organizations dear to your heart, and we're exploring your options today.

What is charitable giving?

Charitable giving encompasses the voluntary act of offering financial support, resources, or contributions to nonprofit organizations, charitable causes, or individuals in need. Individuals who participate in charitable giving actively contribute to the betterment of society, addressing critical issues, and improving the well-being of others. Types of charitable giving include monetary gifts, volunteering time and skills, and donating assets like stocks or property.

How to give to charities?

Giving to charity is a meaningful way to make a positive impact. To get started, research and choose reputable nonprofit organizations aligned with the causes you're passionate about. If you would like recommendations, you can leverage the expertise of your local community foundation.

Next, you'll need to decide on how you would like to give, whether it's a one-time cash donation, setting up a recurring donation, gifting stocks, or giving through qualified distributions. You can also explore opportunities to volunteer your time and skills if that aligns with your preferences. To maximize the impact of your giving, consider one of these tax efficient strategies:

Gifting appreciated securities / stock – Donating stocks to charity can be a savvy philanthropic strategy. When you donate stocks or securities that have appreciated in value, you're supporting a good cause and can potentially reap tax benefits. By transferring your assets directly to a nonprofit organization, you can typically avoid capital gains taxes that you would otherwise incur if you sold the investments yourself.

Qualified Charitable Distributions – This method allows you to give to charitable causes directly through your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) if you're aged 70 1/2 or older. These gifts can help you meet your annual required minimum distributions while reducing your taxable income. You're able to distribute up to $100,000 per year, directly to a charity of your choice without having to pay any taxes on those funds.

The key with Qualified Charitable Distributions is to have the funds sent directly from your IRA to the charity without the money ever being in your possession. If you possess the money at any point, you can run into tax issues.

Charitable Trusts - Charitable trusts are powerful estate planning tools that serve both philanthropic and financial goals. The two most common forms of charitable trusts include: 
  • Charitable Remainder Trust - Giving through a Charitable Remainder Trust allows you to receive income for a specified period (or for the rest of your life), and at the end of the period, the remaining assets in the trust go to your chosen charity. 
  • Charitable Lead Trust - Conversely, a Charitable Lead Trust is designed to provide financial support for one or more charities for a set time, and then the remaining assets are based back to the donor or designated beneficiary after the set number of years have passed.
Donor Advised Funds – A donor advised fund is a popular, flexible tool for individuals, families, businesses, or groups that want to be personally involved in suggesting grant awards made possible by their gifts. Individuals contribute to these funds, receiving immediate tax deductions, and then recommend grants to their chosen nonprofits over time. If you have a range of community interest, a Donor Advised Fund offers significant benefits and is an excellent way to give to 501(c)(3) nonprofits that align with your philanthropic goals.

How does a Donor Advised Fund work?

A Donor Advised Fund operates as a flexible and efficient charitable giving account. You start by making an irrevocable contribution of cash, appreciated stocks, real estate, or other assets to a Donor Advised Fund. The contributed assets in the Donor Advised Fund are typically managed by a sponsoring organization you choose, such as a community foundation or a financial institution, like SouthState.

Donors are often referred to as "advisors" in this context, because they can recommend grants from the Donor Advised Fund to eligible nonprofit organizations and causes of their choice. The donor has the flexibility to make grants at any time, in any amount, to one or multiple charities.

Donors receive a tax deduction for their initial contribution to the Donor Advised Fund. Additionally, any capital gains and income generated within the Donor Advised Fund are tax-free. Your financial advisor will handle all administrative details and issue grants to nonprofits in the name of the fund you establish, or if you prefer, grants can be made anonymously.

It's important to note both of these trust options involve complex transactions and are subject to specific rules set by the IRS. To ensure that you fully understand the implications and benefits of charitable giving through these trusts, we strongly recommend consulting with a legal or tax advisor.

By seeking professional advice, you can navigate the intricacies of these trusts and make informed decisions that align with your philanthropic goals. Your advisor will be able to guide you through the process, ensuring that you comply with all legal requirements and maximize the impact of your charitable giving. For more information on charitable giving, view our Women & Wealth webinar on charitable giving here.

Remember, giving back to the community is a noble endeavor, and with the right guidance, you can create a lasting legacy that supports the causes you hold dear. So, take the time to explore the options available to you and seek expert advice to make the most of your charitable giving journey.


All content contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon to make any financial, accounting, tax, legal or other related decisions. Each person must consider his or her objectives, risk tolerances and level of comfort when making financial decisions and should consult a competent professional advisor prior to making any such decisions. Any opinions expressed through the content in this newsletter are the opinions of the particular author only.

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