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'Tis the season: Why tax time is often the best time to get serious about your charitable plans

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With tax season wrapping up, many people are considering how best to use their refund. Fortunately, charitable giving tends to rank high on ways people spend "bonus" money, and giving intentionally and strategically always helps that gift go further.

Most important is to give to causes that are near and dear to you and for which you can see the ways your giving is contributing to meaningful, positive change in the lives of people in our community. Our team at Akron Community Foundation is a knowledgeable source of ideas, best practices, and data-driven approaches to helping you measure your impact. We can be especially helpful if you have a cause in mind but may not immediately have an organization name or local chapter to support. 

Once you've identified budget targets for your charitable giving and have a strong sense of the causes you'd like to support, structuring your gift for maximum impact and tax savings should be a top priority. 

If you already have a donor-advised fund at the community foundation, you know that this vehicle has many benefits, including ready access to our staff of experts; the convenience of jumping online to support favorite causes from your fund; the ability to maximize a gift with accompanying tax benefits; and even the opportunity to schedule a gift to coincide with the occasional matching campaign hosted by a favorite charity. With full tax deductibility in the year of the contribution, donor-advised funds are an ideal way to "mentally offset" current year tax estimates that become known in April. If you don't yet have a donor-advised fund at the community foundation but are considering it, this may be the perfect time to jump in. 

With these tips in hand, and with the help of the community foundation, you can better plan for the tax year ahead, knowing that causes important to you, whether legacy or new, will benefit from your generosity.

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