Tzedakah, Sadaka, Dāna, Charity: Traditions in Giving

Tzedakah, Sadaka, Dāna, Charity: Traditions in Giving

Over the past 10 days Jews around the world, myself included, observed the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. During these days, I along with countless others, turned our thoughts towards Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and Tzedakah (charity). Between the trio of powerful hurricanes that ripped through the Caribbean and the southeastern United States, powerful earthquakes devastating neighboring Mexico, and the ongoing struggles of poverty, poaching, and refugees in central Africa, there is no shortage of need around the world. As I reflected on my own faith traditions of helping those in need, I was prompted to think about what other faith traditions say about charitable giving, especially during their highest holy days. Uniting Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism (amongst other things) is charitable giving. Here are some thoughts on charitable giving from these traditions: For Christians, the role of charity is first built on teachings in the Hebrew Bible. However, in addition to Hebrew teachings of performing mitzvahs are lessons in the New Testament. Jesus’s parables and actions also speak to the morality of charitable sentiments. The Gospel of Luke, for example, notes “love thy neighbor as thyself” and asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” The lesson is that we are interconnected, everyone is my neighbor and thus all should be considered.    Buddhists also see the interdependence of all things and have an awareness of the helplessness of those less fortunate. Practicing selflessness in this way is thought to increase one’s own merit and is also seen as an antidote to greed. Giving is an expression of the natural qualities of kindness and compassion....
On Capital Hill: Talking About the Fate of the Charitable Deduction

On Capital Hill: Talking About the Fate of the Charitable Deduction

On May 30, 1985, I skipped high school.  No, it was not senior skip day, nor did I really desire a break from school.  I wanted to travel from Appleton to Oshkosh to see President Reagan speak.  He had just introduced his plan on what would eventually become the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and first went to Wisconsin to sell it to the American people.  Contrary to my parents wishes, I did hear the speech in person and watched the ensuing process that produced the new tax code.  It was something that sparked my interest in learning about taxes and how (and why) they work the way they do. In law school, my intellectual curiosity about taxes turned towards the charitable deduction and was one of the major factors that drove me to pursue a career in charitable gift planning.  I fell in love with the fact that our country effectively allowed citizens to choose where their tax dollars could make a difference.  Over the years, my admiration has grown into awe as I have participated in conversations about the deduction that sparked amazing charitable gifts changing the course, and even saving, countless lives. My awe of and now concern about the charitable deduction led me to go to Capital Hill on February 16th where I joined nearly 200 nonprofit leaders in a whirlwind day of meetings hosted by the Charitable Giving Coalition (@ProtectGiving). We visited 130 House of Representatives and Senate offices, including 23 members of the Senate Finance Committee and 26 members of the House Ways and Means Committee. The goal of these meetings was to...
Charities – Leverage Donor-Advised Fund Recurring Grants

Charities – Leverage Donor-Advised Fund Recurring Grants

Recurring gifts are nothing new. Numerous nonprofit organizations have shown big results with recurring gift donors. One study of online contributions found recurring gift donors gave 42 percent more annually than one-time contributors. But there is a problem – and an opportunity. One of the biggest areas of donation growth is donor-advised funds. But donor-advised fund advisors – the people you will need to solicit for a donation – cannot make a legally binding pledge using their fund. The advisors can only make “grant advisements.” This is an important legal restriction. But here’s a secret. Most donor-advised fund administrators fulfill almost all advisor grant advisements. That is, charities get the grant. Likely less than one percent of advisements get rejected. The few grant advisements going unfilled are almost always because: The donor requests a grant going to a nonprofit that isn’t a 501(c)3 charity; The donor is receiving something of value for the donation; or, in rare cases, The administrator has restrictions on what 501(c)3 charities can be supported (something donors would be made aware of when they create the fund). If you’re a 501(c)3 charity in good standing with the IRS and do not give anything of value in return for the donation, you should almost always get the grant. Where is the opportunity? Most donor-advised funds offer grant advisement pre-scheduling of recurring donations. This is a growing area with increasing numbers of scheduled contributions. It’s a big opportunity for you! Successfully Solicit Donor-Advised Fund Recurring Grants As you design your donor-advised fund recurring grant campaign there are three considerations (among standard ones) to keep top of mind....