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Your Charitable Playbook: Adding Value With a Donor-Advised Fund

Advisor shaking hands with two smiling clients

Charitable giving habits are an important window into helping a client make planning decisions around their philanthropic intentions. By noticing patterns in their charitable giving and making recommendations to maximize those gifts, you can add even more value to your client relationships.

Here's a simple playbook you can use to help your clients establish a charitable giving plan using a donor-advised fund at the community foundation:

  1. Call your clients' attention to their charitable giving history. They might not even be aware of how much they are giving or how long they've been supporting their favorite charities.

  2. Gather more information about why the clients support those particular causes. Family tradition? Past involvement as a beneficiary of an organization's services? Desire to impact a particular area of need?

  3. Talk with your clients about their community involvement. Do they serve on any boards of directors? Do they volunteer at local organizations?

  4. Review any charitable giving provisions in their current will or trust. Are the clients leaving a bequest to their favorite charities?

  5. Ask your clients if they've ever considered organizing their giving through a donor-advised fund. If they are not familiar with donor-advised funds, perhaps offer a quick primer, and certainly offer to introduce the client to a member of the community foundation team.

  6. Briefly mention that a donor-advised fund can be an effective alternative to a private foundation, thanks to fewer expenses to establish and maintain, maximum tax benefits (higher AGI limitations and fair market valuation for contributing hard-to-value assets), no excise taxes, and confidentiality (including the ability to grant anonymously to charities).

  7. Also mention that a donor-advised fund at the community foundation is frequently a more effective choice than a donor-advised fund offered through a brokerage firm. That's because, at a community foundation, the donor is part of a community of giving and has opportunities to collaborate with other donors who share similar interests. In addition, the donor is supported in strategic grantmaking, family philanthropy, and opportunities to gain deeper knowledge about local issues and nonprofits making a difference. 

Need help starting the conversation? Contact Laura Lederer at 330-436-5611 or We're always available to answer your questions about philanthropy or to schedule a personal consultation with you and your clients – all at no cost.

Additional Resources

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

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