Comparing Giving Strategies

When you have decided to make a charitable gift, you want to be sure it meets both your interests and your financial needs. Choosing the right partner can help you support the organizations you value while effectively managing your contributions.

Three popular approaches to actively managing your charitable giving are donor advised funds at GCF, commercial gift funds, and private foundations. You can give directly to individual charities to support:

  • Annual campaigns
  • Capital campaigns
  • Endowment campaigns and
  • Specific needs

There may be reasons (like timing or tax purposes) to consider giving to or through a formal giving vehicle. To help with your decision, the table below provides an overview of three different approaches to establishing a fund and managing the giving process.

Item to Consider  GCF Donor Advised Fund  Commercial Financial Institution Gift Fund Private Foundation
Donor involvement Donor recommends grants to qualified nonprofit groups; grants are approved by GCF Governing Board Donor recommends grants to qualified nonprofit groups. Grants are approved by trustees of the gift fund Donor appoints board, which controls investments and grantmaking
Income tax deductions for gifts of:
Cash Up to 50% of adjusted gross income Up to 50% of adjusted gross income Up to 30% of adjusted gross income
Appreciated stock Fair market value up to 30% of adjusted gross income Fair market value up to 30% of adjusted gross income Fair market value up to 20% of adjusted gross income
Real estate and closely held stock Fair market value up to 30% of adjusted gross income Fair market value up to 30% of adjusted gross income Cost basis up to 20% of adjusted gross income
Grantmaking support Professional staff can help identify and assess grant recipients, provide input on community needs, and verify nonprofit status of groups Varies Donors must arrange and support their own grantmaking and monitoring structure, or purchase support from GCF
Start-up costs:
Initial costs None None Thousands of dollars for legal and accounting expenses and filing fees
Minimum contribution $25,000 Varies Typically millions of dollars
Administrative requirements:
Ongoing costs Pooled administration; annual fee, competitive with similar services Varies Several thousand dollars for legal and accounting expenses, return prep and taxes
Reporting GCF handles reporting Financial institution handles reporting Annual 990 tax form must be filed