Becoming a Smarter Giver


Maurice StouseBy Maurice Stouse, Financial Advisor and Branch Manager

The United States and its citizens are among the most charitable in the world. And even though tax laws have made some changes to charitable giving, investors and savers alike are not only thinking how and what they are giving, but also how they might be able to be smarter givers. The question is, how do you do it? Giving is motivated by the three Ts: Time, Talent and Treasure. This article is focused on the giving of treasure.

It all starts with a review of today’s givers, the “who.” In 2018, Raymond James produced a white paper on charitable giving, and we are sharing some of that insight for you here. If you looked at some numbers, you would find that a giver is typically a mature American (88 percent) and 72 percent of all givers are classified as baby boomers. Next, what are their causes? The study says the top four are: 31 percent to religious institutions; 14 percent for education; 12 percent to human services and 11 percent to foundations. And lastly, where do the givers typically come from? The leaders are Utah, D.C., Mississippi and Tennessee.

So, how and why are people giving? People want to make a difference, to create a legacy and to act upon a sense of moral duty. There are incentives as well: Potentially lower taxes, managing their wealth and guidance on estate planning. Giving can be as straightforward as a cash, check or even stock donation. Other assets might qualify as well. This can be cumbersome, however, if you have several nonprofits you want to support.

An idea growing in popularity is the Donor Advised Fund or DAF. Raymond James calls it “the new face of giving’ and it is the fastest growing charitable vehicle in America. DAFs are public charities and qualify under IRS section 501(c)3. They take in contributions from the giver by way of cash (or check) but also securities (stocks and bonds, for example). Depending on someone’s situation, a tax deduction might even apply. The DAF in turn invests the contributions into mutual funds for growth or income or preservation of capital.
Note the wording of “donor advised.” That means that the donor can directly ask the DAF to periodically, or when they would like to, send contributions on to another charity. That charity could be educational (a college, university or any educational nonprofit), religious (church), human services or foundations (educational, athletic as example). In the meantime, any amounts not given can be left to grow and accumulate over time, for many years.

In the end, giving is simpler – one contribution to one charity, which can then be dispersed as you request or advise. Many firms allow you to do this online or even delegate it to your adviser, at your direction. You can title or name the account as well. These accounts also allow you to name successor donor advisers or a final recipient charity of the value of the account at your death. Many people appreciate having this available for making donations to their schools, churches, hospitals and various local or national/international causes.
Donors are urged to consult their attorneys, accountants or tax advisers with respect to questions relating to the deductibility of various types of contributions to a Donor-Advised Fund for federal and state tax purposes.

Maurice Stouse is a Financial Advisor and the branch manager of The First Wealth Management and Raymond James. The main office is located at First Florida Bank, a division of The First, 2000 98 Palms Blvd. Destin, FL 32451 with branch offices in Niceville, Mary Esther, Miramar Beach, Freeport and Panama City. Phone 850.654.8124. Raymond James advisors do not offer tax advice. Please see your tax professionals. Email:

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