Make Your Giving More Impactful

Tips to more effectively support the charitable causes that are important to you.

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Podcast Transcript

Host: Dan Harris, Senior Vice President - Philanthropic Services, Wells Fargo Private Bank

Guest: Phyllis Silverstein, Senior Regional Fiduciary Manager, Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services

[Dan]:

Hello, I'm Dan Harris, Senior Vice President for Wells Fargo Private Bank, and this is "Your Financial Journey" — a podcast series that explores common financial issues that we all face. I am joined today by Phyllis Silverstein, Senior Regional Fiduciary Manager for Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services, to discuss some ways that we can all have more impact with our giving.

So, Phyllis, we all have our favorite charities that we support, and many of us find ourselves responding to donation requests throughout the year and especially around the holidays. But is that the most effective way that we should be making our charitable gifts?

[Phyllis]:

You know what, Dan; I get that question quite a lot. While you may be giving donations to many worthy charities that have approached you, there may be a more effective way to give over the long term. Often times, you may be giving to charities or causes that you know very little about. When I work with clients, we take a much more proactive approach and we review their giving history and the why's behind the what and why they gave. This exercise often becomes that aha moment that helps them dig deeper into causes they supported and how it connects back to their values. For example, if you gave to charities that aim to end hunger and provide low income housing, supporting social justice may be important to you. After we analyze all those aspects, together we can develop a giving plan to help make the greatest impact for our client's giving and their family's legacy.

[Dan]:

So, Phyllis, that's something I can relate to, and I'm sure many listeners can as well in that we sometimes tend to be more reactive, and not proactive, in the ways that we give. So what are some steps to developing what you referred to as a giving plan?

[Phyllis]:

Well, you can simply start by just thinking about which causes are most important to you. Document your thoughts on paper and then compare what you've written to the donations you've actually made. When we have helped clients with this exercise, they have often been very surprised at how different the two lists really were.

[Dan]:

So a good suggestion is to get the causes you care about and the charities you give to listed on paper and see how you're giving, and that can help our listeners identify whether they want to make changes to their charitable giving strategy.

[Phyllis]:

Exactly, Dan. Most people take the "checkbook philanthropy" approach, but we suggest an alternative idea called "intentional giving." We believe getting intentional and strategic about your giving may give you a sense of purpose and help serve as a motivational reminder of your charitable goals.

[Dan]:

Phyllis, can you talk to us a little more about intentional giving?

[Phyllis]:

Sure. As you know, Dan, philanthropy is very personal and intentional giving can help provide clarity on one's values, vision, and goals. With that in mind, we believe there are three key components to consider to help assess your philanthropic objectives:

  1. What are your values and vision (what's important to you and your family)
  2. What is your giving history (do your charitable gifts align with your values)
  3. Your resources (which assets are most appropriate to support your philanthropic objectives)

Based on these, a family can focus on the strategies that best fit into their overall wealth plan.

Having a well-thought-out plan based on these components can help match your personal values and help make a bigger impact for the family and the family's legacy.

[Dan]:

And how can a person get started with this approach?

[Phyllis]:

Well, the first thing one should do is discuss the right approach with their financial advisor, tax advisor, and a planning specialist. At Wells Fargo Private Bank, we have philanthropic specialists who can help families develop an intentional giving plan that aligns with their personal values and overall wealth plans. They can help with coordinating outright gifts or the appropriate approach that may involve comparing more structured options such as charitable remainder trusts, private foundations, or donor advised funds.

[Dan]:

So, Phyllis thanks for sharing your perspective.

[Phyllis]:

Thanks, Dan.

[Dan]:

I would encourage all our listeners to create the two lists that Phyllis recommended as a start to a more meaningful giving strategy to support the causes they really care about.

Image created from iStock

What can Wells Fargo do for you?

You’re passionate about supporting worthy causes and nonprofit organizations, and Wells Fargo Conversations discusses how you can make the most of your opportunities for giving.

Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services is part of Wells Fargo Wealth Management, providing financial products and services through Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and its various affiliates and subsidiaries.

Wells Fargo & Company and its affiliates do not provide legal advice. Wells Fargo Advisors does not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your legal and tax advisors to determine how this information may apply to your own situation. Whether any planned tax result is realized by you depends on the specific facts of your own situation at the time your taxes are prepared.

Trust services available through banking and trust affiliates in addition to non-affiliated companies of Wells Fargo Advisors.

This information is provided for educational and illustrative purposes only.

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