Do you have a favorite charity or non-profit? A cause that touches you in a special way? Each day, charities do great work with scarce resources. They house our homeless children, feed our poor, provide legal resources to our veterans and to impoverished grandparents, work to preserve our environment, and nurture our faith and spirituality. My favorite causes include the Fund to Prevent Homelessness, First Parish Church, and the North Shore YMCA. Each works in my community to improve all of our lives, but each works in a really different way.
Planned Giving is a way to think about YOUR resources, and to include important groups in your giving both while you’re alive, AND after you pass away. Many families sit down together and draw up a plan, thinking about the causes that are important, and talking about how they want to support them. This is more about planning than about great wealth – many people with limited means contribute every year to churches and community groups. Americans are generous, giving more than $307 BILLLION in 2008, mostly from individuals. One report estimates that 67% of American households make charitable contributions, while only 8% leave gifts in their wills (Fundraising Research). What organization do YOU love, that maybe gives your life a special sense of hope or comfort? Consider adding it to your estate plan, by will, by apportioning a percentage of an insurance policy or by making it a beneficiary on an investment account. And of course, as you do this, talk to your attorney or tax advisor about the best way for your wishes to be drafted and integrated into your overall planning!