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Can I boost the impact of my giving with strategies similar to those I use in my business?


Yes, you most certainly can help a charity with the same strategies you’ve employed to create and increase your own net worth. However, the more complex question is: How exactly do you do that?

As a member of a high net worth family, you are most likely to incorporate a formal charitable gift arrangement for your favorite causes or charities into your overall financial and estate planning. You may also have been solicited by your local religious institutions or community organizations to contribute to appeals, fund drives or auction dinners targeting specific, often urgent, needs.

While both forms of giving are to be applauded, for many families, that annual contribution becomes less of a commitment to a cause, than a sense that you are throwing cash at yet another financial emergency that arises from a nonprofit’s persistent shortcomings in fundraising to fill budget gaps, inexperienced management or both.

Instead, with a tactical donation, you not only invigorate your giving, but increase its impact many times over. You can do this when you contribute funds to “seed” a planned giving program for one of your favorite charities, utilizing the expertise of a team of planned giving professionals who gets things done.


You and several of your high net worth peers join together to pool resources—both financial and experiential—and donate funds to a foundation to coordinate the seeding of one or more planned giving programs. Next, you and that foundation approach a nonprofit entity, let’s say your church, and propose a giving plan along the following lines.

The foundation agrees to pay the salary for a dedicated, full-time planned-giving employee (for example, during a three-year period), the marketing expenses according to a pre-approved budget and a consulting allowance. The foundation also agrees to assist in the hiring and training of the dedicated full-time employee.

You draw up a contract between the foundation and the church (or any nonprofit that your group chooses), which details the duties of the new planned-giving employee, a mandatory marketing plan designed and approved by the foundation and the duties of the planned-giving consultant.

While there is great satisfaction in giving, there is even greater satisfaction when that giving does the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

All aspects of the program are tracked on a quarterly basis, and funds are distributed according to benchmarks satisfied during that quarter.

At the end of the three-year period, a full assessment of the program is undertaken and a determination made as to whether it needs to be extended. The nonprofit always has the option to manage and market its own program after the expiration of the giving plan, which of course is the best outcome. Here’s why:

To paraphrase a familiar axiom, you have not given the church a fish, but instead, taught it how to fish so it can feed itself for a lifetime. By tactically controlling your giving, then managing and building it, you have turned your donation into a viable operation— one that is a multiple of the impact of every dollar actually given.

In short, if you decide to emulate this model, I would be happy to entertain any of your questions or share additional information.

Investing involves risk. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate, and an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Advisory Services offered through Strategic Financial Group, LLC (dba SFGI, LLC in Illinois), a Registered Investment Advisor.

This article was originally published in the April/May 2016 issue of Worth.

Charitable Giving

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