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20 Charitable Planning Questions for the 2020 Holidays

November 25, 2020

It’s that time of year again! Whether your family is gathering together around a table or around a computer, the focus is still the same: don’t burn the turkey! It’s during these times that we join together to share stories, laughter, food, and to be thankful for all we have. It’s also a time we often talk about helping others.

Our partners at American Endowment Foundation have put together a list of 20 questions to start the conversation about your family’s financial giving philosophy.

We are grateful to be connected, especially now. We hope these questions help you and your family start a conversation!


20 Charitable Questions for the 2020 Holidays

  1. What is the history of philanthropy in our family?

  2. Why is philanthropy important to each of us? What is our motivation for giving?

  3. How involved do we want to be with our giving? Should we volunteer, serve on a board, go on site visits, attend conferences, collaborate with other donors, or just send in donations?

  4. Which causes and charities are most important to each of us, and why?

  5. Are there causes and charities that we have supported in the past that are no longer as relevant? Are there any new ones we should support?

  6. Which past donations have provided us with the greatest satisfaction or regret?

  7. Should we have one charitable mission and donate as a group, or is it OK to give separately?

  8. Do we want the bulk of our giving to be in the near future, throughout our lifetimes, or for generations to come? Has this year changed our timeline?

  9. Who wants to be involved, now and later? Who will be in charge of family giving in the future?

  10. Do we want to support many or few charities, large or small ones?

  11. Do we want to be public or private with our giving?

  12. Should we plan and manage our giving ourselves, or would it be helpful to bring in charitable giving experts to help?

  13. Should we change the amount we donate this year? If we’ve already given this year, should we give again and how much?

  14. Have we talked with our financial and tax advisors so we get the maximum tax benefits? Is everyone fully aware of the advantages of donating assets other than cash?

  15. Are there particular assets (real estate, family company’s stock, collections) that we own that nobody will want in the future that can be sold or donated to a charity or donor advised fund account? Can that be used as the basis for our giving in the future?

  16. Does the family have any charitable vehicles currently, and are there any challenges with them? Are there simpler and less expensive options such as donor-advised funds?

  17. Are there any charitable beneficiaries named in the estate plan? Shall we include some? Is a charitable legacy important to us?

  18. Should we donate the Required Minimum Distributions from our IRA to charity or should we make a change because of the CARES Act that passed this year? Should we name the DAF as the charitable beneficiary at death instead of the children to avoid the significant taxes that would need to be paid?

  19. What concerns does anyone have about our charitable giving?

  20. What has been and will be the impact of our giving? How can we evaluate this impact?