Go further with your charitable giving

Go further with your charitable giving

Many donors are exploring how to help the victims of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. The team at The Community Foundation is happy to help you balance your desire to meet the most critical needs in our local community while also supporting international relief efforts. Please reach out anytime. Our team is also happy to share insights about what’s trending in philanthropy overall, including best practices in disaster giving. We are here to help you achieve your short-term and long-term charitable goals and work with you and your advisors to do so in the most tax-effective manner.


This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Evaluating options for focusing your philanthropy

Evaluating options for focusing your philanthropy

If you’ve been giving to favorite charities for many years, it will not surprise you to learn that most donors are interested in deepening and focusing their impact as they maintain the frequent and total amount of giving.

Focusing on impact is hard, but it’s easier when you work with The Community Foundation and follow best practices for making grants to favorite causes. The Community Foundation’s expertise can be invaluable to you and your family as you pursue your charitable goals.

Here are three suggestions for refining your giving strategies to support your favorite causes.

Educate yourself. 

Learn about best practices that are emerging in the growing field of philanthropy. You can discover various philosophies that can drive charitable giving and gain insights from examples of what other philanthropists report has worked well and not so well. Working with The Community Foundation team is an excellent way to gain access to the most up-to-date research and resources on making an impact, including ways to make decisions with your partner or involve your family.

Follow your heart.

Your charitable giving is going to be most effective when you support the causes you truly care about. You’ll be more committed and better able to focus on impact if you experience the psychological rewards of providing financial support to organizations that align with your personal beliefs about how quality of life can improve for people in the community.

Seek information.

Information about nonprofit organizations is widely available to you through several online sources, including being able to access nonprofit organizations’ tax returns to see detailed financial data. As you do your online research, consult the team at The Community Foundation. We are happy to interpret the information available online and provide important context for the meaning of that information as it relates to the actual work of the nonprofit organization and the ways you are supporting it.


This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Letter to the Washington Post

Last week, the Washington Post published a misinformed article about donor-advised funds. The Council on Foundations, with support of community foundations, immediately responded by penning a letter to the editor. The full text of the letter is below.

We hope the Post will consider publishing this letter, but in the meantime we wish to share it with you.


To the Editor:

Tuesday’s article on donor-advised funds (DAFs) (“Wall Street is sitting on billions meant for American charities,” June 21) provides a laundry list of damaging and inaccurate assertions about DAFs, specifically those created by financial institutions. Community foundations, leading stewards of positive change at the local level, also sponsor DAFs which offer the benefit of being an efficient and less administratively burdensome option for many donors who want to establish philanthropic vehicles.

When donors create DAFs at community foundations, they ensure support for nonprofits and leverage the foundation’s programs, collective giving efforts, and civic leadership to further advance local causes. They are able to address immediate needs and, importantly, long-term efforts.

For more than 100 years, community foundations have partnered with philanthropists to support communities. This includes helping donors identify their giving goals and strategy. DAFs factor into these conversations because of their many benefits. For example, DAFs:

  • Provide flexibility. DAFs allow community foundations to quickly respond to local needs including emergency response efforts.
  • Democratize giving. DAFs require modest financial contributions, making them within the reach of most charitable givers.
  • Connect donors to purpose. DAFs empower individuals to support long-term solutions for tough community issues with the benefit of guidance from professionals.

The real threat to charitable giving is not DAFs but one-sided, mischaracterizations of an important philanthropic vehicle that encourages civic engagement.

Rather than narrowing the breadth of tools available, we should focus on expanding and protecting giving options that help citizens to advance the common good in their communities.

Vikki Spruill, Javier Soto, Randall Royster
Tony Mestres, Hazle Hamilton, Richard Ober
Steve Seleznow, Lorie A. Slutsky, Debbie Wilkerson, Revlan Hill

Ms. Spruill is president and chief executive officer of the Council on Foundations.

Mr. Soto is vice chair of the Council on Foundations’ board of directors and president and chief executive officer of The Miami Foundation.

Mr. Royster is a Council on Foundations’ board of directors member and current past president of the Community Foundations National Standards Board and president and chief executive officer of the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

Mr. Mestres is a Council on Foundations’ board of directors member and president and chief executive officer of The Seattle Foundation.

Ms. Hamilton is president of the Community Foundations National Standards Board and executive vice president of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

Mr. Ober is president and chief executive officer of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

Mr. Seleznow is president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Community Foundation.

Ms. Slutsky is president of the New York Community Trust.

Ms. Wilkerson is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

Ms. Revlan Hill is president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County

Bridging the Generational Gap

What does it mean to give back? For most people, I’d say it depends on who you’re asking the question at and when they were born. Throughout the generations who give back to their community and their favorite nonprofits, each generation thinks and gives differently. According to Hartnett and Matan “Nearly 60% of Gen Ys and 50% of Gen Xers want to see directly the impact of their donations, while just 37% of Baby Boomers say seeing a direct impact matters to them.”

However the question remains: how do we bridge the generational gap of giving between Baby Boomers and Generation Y (or Millennials) and really connect with younger donors?

It is also reported by Harnett and Matan that “…45% of Boomers say their financial contribution is key, only 36% of Gex Xers and 25% of Gen Ys think that what matters most is a difference made of money. Instead, they believe that volunteering and spreading the word is more impactful”.  While Baby Boomers and Generation Xers will not be around forever, it has become an important task in creating relationships between nonprofits and Millennials in continuing to find new ways to engage with younger donors.

While Generation Y only represents a small percentage of giving, they do represent the largest percentage of media usage. Numerous social media platforms exist on the internet bringing in users all over the world to share their thoughts, pictures, and connect with old friends. Software company, Blackbaud (see full interactive report here) says, 90% of social media usage is on Facebook and a whopping 97% is surprisingly on YouTube, with LinkedIn and Twitter in last. Generation X does not fall far behind Millennials in the category of social media as well. They also spend most of their time on YouTube at 92%, Facebook at 77%, and LinkedIn at 57% according to Blackbaud.  All in all, Generation Y and X are more likely to give back through social media and learn more about new nonprofits through shared posts and videos, while Baby Boomers give back more through direct mail and organization’s websites.

What does this mean for philanthropy and nonprofits? Essentially, this means social media will become and already plays a huge role in giving back. Whether you are a small nonprofit just getting started or a large established nonprofit, social media is key in educating and connecting with new young donors as we begin to see more Millennials following in the footsteps of their charitable parents and grandparents.

Don’t forget to visit our social media pages  for the latest information on nonprofit news and to see what we’ve been up to!

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You can also give directly to any of our funds listed on our website by clicking on “Donate Now.”