Approaches to Giving

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The philanthropist could choose to keep things really simple (but possibly not very tax efficient) and make donations in her own name to various causes that align with her values. This provides complete flexibility, quick response times and little administrative or legal obligations. Alternatively, she can decide to do the bulk of her giving in her will and leave bequests to various organisations.

Another simple way is to find another grant-making organisation (such as a closely related family trust or an independent foundation or an international grant maker operating in the same area) that is willing to also receive your funds. It would obviously need to be closely aligned with the philanthropists’ values and an organisation in which she can place high levels of trust. The advantage is that she “piggy backs” on their work.

If the philanthropists’ intention is to leave a legacy that lasts beyond her lifetime and/or provide a vehicle for giving that her children and grandchildren can be involved in, then she may wish to consider a testamentary trust or establish a charitable trust during her lifetime. Establishing a trust formalizes giving as it requires the philanthropist to think about the purpose of the trust, approve a trust deed, appoint trustees and comply with the various regulatory reporting and other requirements. Different countries will have different laws applicable to charitable trusts and there is a need to take legal advice.

Formalized giving through the creation of a non-profit company.

Founding donor may also wish to consider whether donating through a private, family business is more appropriate – this could be considered as a “corporate philanthropy” solution. If the donor and/or the donor’s family have significant control over the company, then it may be quite easy for her to align her personal values and the values of her company and run her philanthropy out of her business. One way to do this is to establish a stand-alone trust or non-profit company that uses the business’s brand and other financial and non-financial resources.

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