How I Created My Personal Charitable Giving Plan: An replace 2 years later


Two years in the past, I wrote about creating my very own charitable giving technique, which I then documented in spreadsheet-y glory. I’m again to inform you how I’ve modified and improved it since then.

Seeing our shoppers give cash to individuals and causes they care about is without doubt one of the finest components of the job at Stream, for the entire crew. Let’s face it, our shoppers (and plenty of different individuals in tech; possibly you, too!) are financially privileged and fortunate, and it’s simply so…satisfying to see them not solely acknowledge that however act on it, too.

A lot of our shoppers have, over time, expressed their want to provide extra to charity…however a good stronger want to create a plan for his or her charitable giving in order that it doesn’t really feel so arbitrary. 

In response to that, we developed a construction for a dialog to guide shoppers by the thought strategy of constructing their charitable technique. And a pair years in the past, I lastly took my very own medication and created my very own plan.

I’ve discovered to embrace-ish the thought of “progress, not perfection.” (It’s one among our core values in spite of everything…simply take a look at our web site, it’s proper. there.) So, my husband’s and my plan wasn’t good, but it surely was A Plan, and I knew I might merely iterate on it in future years. 

(Simply as modifying an present paper is simpler than writing one from scratch (normally; let’s face it, generally writing is simply so atrocious there’s no saving it), iterating on a plan is simpler than writing the plan within the first place.)

I’ve made two notable adjustments since then. 

I’ve traditionally been a bit cranky about Donor Suggested Funds (DAFs) (though I suppose I used to be pretty even-handed on this article). Largely as a result of I noticed individuals slavering over that specific product (“I can save a lot in taxes! It’s attractive! That’s what wealthy individuals in tech do, proper?”) however not essentially slavering over the charitable intention that it’s purported to allow.

Properly, final 12 months, after my colleague Mike Zung roughly persuaded me to strive it out, I did. I created a DAF with my husband in 2022. And it made my charitable contribution course of So. A lot. Simpler.

I reserve the proper to nonetheless be considerably cranky about DAFs, however man, it actually made a giant distinction.

Right here’s the way it labored:

  1. I opened a DAF at Constancy.

    We seemed (ha ha ha, I seemed; my husband is aware of roughly what our monetary scenario is, however he has little curiosity in it past “Cash in account? Good.”) at a number of DAFs. Constancy’s actually appeared finest: no minimums, no account-management payment, and an interface that didn’t make me wish to claw my eyes out.

  2. We calculated our charitable giving quantity as described in my earlier publish: 10% of our earnings. Let’s say that was $10,000 (not the true quantity).
  3. I donated $10k price of investments to the DAF.

    The most important administrative burden of this complete course of was shifting our “appreciated securities” (i.e., investments that had grown in worth) from the place they stay (Vanguard) to the place the DAF lives (Constancy). We’ve had our investments at Vanguard for 20+ years, and regardless of their atrocious interface, it’s not sufficient of a burden for me to maneuver away from it.

    We would have liked to fill out a bodily type and mail it in. Sure, actually. Ugh. Then we waited for Vanguard to obtain it, course of it, and transfer the securities to Constancy. IIRC, it took nearly 3 weeks from the day we mailed the shape. THREE WEEKS.

    However we do that solely every year, so it’s a value I’m prepared to pay.

  4. Over these three weeks, clearly, funding costs modified, not by an amazing quantity, however we did find yourself donating barely much less in greenback phrases than I’d meant.

    In three weeks, the worth of a inventory or fund might change a lot. If that occurred, you’d find yourself donating much more or far lower than you’d meant (by way of sheer {dollars}).

    This isn’t actually a problem in case your funding account and DAF are on the similar custodian (Constancy, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and many others.)

  5. As quickly because the donated inventory hit our DAF, I bought it to money.

    My objective is to donate all the cash yearly so conserving it invested to provide it the prospect to develop is moot. Now I’ve this gorgeous pile of $10kish money to grant to our favourite charities (hiya, Bellingham Meals Financial institution, the place evidently they’ve seen demand double within the final 12 months).

Advantages of the DAF

I discussed among the annoyances of this DAF course of above. Please behold the numerous advantages we skilled, which satisfied me this was an excellent iteration on our giving plan.

The most important profit for me was that I solely needed to course of one charitable donation from an administrative- and tax-paperwork perspective.

  • We needed to acquire one doc for tax functions: Constancy’s assertion of our charitable donation and the worth of it. If we’d given cash (or appreciated securities) to a number of charities, we’d have (let’s face it, I would have) needed to fill out the paperwork individually for every charity, after which get and preserve the tax documentation from every charity.
  • (Okay, technically, we additionally needed to collect info from Vanguard about the fee foundation of the funding we donated. However once more, we solely had to do this as soon as. And I get the sense that is extra of a simply in case/CYA versus needing it to be able to fill out your tax return. My CPA would know finest.)
  • We solely needed to fill out Vanguard’s (maddening) paperwork as soon as.

Different, extra minor advantages had been:

A devoted “charity bucket” made it simple to interact my children.

At 12 months’s finish, there was our “charity bucket” (aka, DAF), sitting there with about $2k left over. It was really easy to sit down down with my daughters, level it out to them and ask “What causes are vital to you? Who or what do you wish to assist?” 

It was a straightforward technique to begin the dialog about giving…after which do the giving proper then and there in entrance of them!

In case you’re curious: We gave extra money to our native meals financial institution, to a charity that helps fund individuals’s medical payments, and to whales (hiya, we stay within the PNW, it was gonna occur; we then visited the related Whale Museum on San Juan Island…it was nice!).

I can donate anonymously.

It might have been very easy to donate anonymously, which is useful if you happen to’re giving to a kind of charities that you simply simply know goes to make use of your total donation quantity to ship you mail asking for extra donations.

I might grant the cash to the charity so rapidly and simply. As in, inside minutes.

The Constancy DAF interface made it really easy to and quick to get the cash to the precise charities. We discovered the charities of their interface, typed in a greenback quantity, and clicked a button (possibly two?). DONE. 

We didn’t need to go attempting to find these charities’ DTC #s or custodians or any of the opposite info you want to be able to donate appreciated securities on to a charity.

I Am Now Explicitly Changing The Donated Securities with New Money Financial savings.

This may appear to be a “duh” or “hunh?” level to make, but it surely was vital for me to make express:

One of many vital issues to learn about your funds is: How a lot are your saving? What’s your saving price?

You’d suppose it’s a easy calculation:

Financial savings price = How a lot $ did I save into funding and retirement accounts / Complete Family Earnings

Besides if we’re additionally taking cash out of an funding account to be able to fund our charitable giving, then that “cancels out” a part of the financial savings we’ve performed. And for the 2 years of my formal charitable giving technique, I wasn’t paying particular consideration to this, in the meantime applauding myself for all that money I used to be shoving into my long-term monetary independence portfolio.

So, this 12 months, we’re explicitly changing the donated cash in our taxable funding account. Now we have to first put $10k into our funding account to get again to financial savings impartial. Solely any contributions in extra of that $10k depend as precise financial savings.

To do that, we have now since instituted a daily switch from our checking account to our taxable funding account to exchange the donated cash over the course of the 12 months: twice a month (with every paycheck), we push $417 into our funding account. 

One factor I actually like about this tactic is that it turns the charitable donation, regardless that it’s technically being funded by our funding account, right into a month-to-month expense, as I feel it must be.

A Extra Tax-Environment friendly Portfolio

Changing the donated shares with new money investments has a second—and fewer vital, IMO—profit: it improves the tax effectivity of my remaining funding portfolio.


I donated shares with a low value foundation (mainly, the value at which I purchased them). A low value foundation signifies that, if I bought them, I’d have lots of acquire to pay taxes on. 

However I donate these low-basis shares and use new money to purchase shares of the very same funding, however now with a a lot larger buy value (aka, value foundation), once I go to promote these new shares, the acquire shall be smaller and so will my tax invoice once I promote them. 

For instance:

  1. I donate $10,000 of VTI (Vanguard Complete Inventory Market fund). I purchased it years in the past, at a value of $100/share.
  2. It’s presently price $205/share. By donating these shares, I keep away from ever paying tax on that ($205-$100=) $105 in acquire.
  3. I put $10,000 of recent money into my portfolio and easily repurchase VTI, now at a value of $205/share.
  4. In 10 years, say, I promote these shares after they’re price $300/share.
    1. If I nonetheless had the previous shares, I’d need to pay capital positive aspects taxes on $300-$100 = $200 of acquire per share.
    2. However as a result of I donated these and purchased new shares, I’ve to pay capital positive aspects taxes on solely $300-$205 = $95 of acquire per share.

Thoughts BLOWN.

I hope I’ve impressed you to make only one change, for the higher, to your individual charitable giving plan. 

And keep in mind, getting cash into the palms of individuals and causes who want it’s the objective right here. Ways and techniques don’t matter if that doesn’t occur.

Do you wish to work with a monetary planner who needs to encourage your charitable spirit, and can assist arrange simple and actionable steps to provide? Attain out and schedule a free session or ship us an e-mail.

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Disclaimer: This text is offered for instructional, common info, and illustration functions solely. Nothing contained within the materials constitutes tax recommendation, a advice for buy or sale of any safety, or funding advisory companies. We encourage you to seek the advice of a monetary planner, accountant, and/or authorized counsel for recommendation particular to your scenario. Copy of this materials is prohibited with out written permission from Stream Monetary Planning, LLC, and all rights are reserved. Learn the complete Disclaimer.


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