A philanthropist is a person who donates time, money, experience, skills or talent to help create a better world. Whether you are Warren Buffet, Michael Jordan, or a Wilmington local, the gifting principles, tax benefits, and philanthropic rewards of charitable giving are the same.

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What are the benefits of being a philanthropist?

Many philanthropists are driven by a deep desire to solve social problems and help others. In addition, the U.S. federal tax code rewards giving in a variety of ways: deductions against income, capital gains and estate taxes.

Studies show that philanthropy provides other benefits; researchers have found that philanthropy contributes to the following positive effects:

  • Greater overall happiness
  • Lower stress levels
  • Better physical health
  • Greater sense of connection to others

Millions of dollars are not required to be a philanthropist. Donating time, talent or treasure can increase the effects of giving by thinking strategically. Educational resources like Boost Your Giving IQ provides worksheets and other tools for those interested in smarter giving. These tools can help decide what’s important and create an action plan that maximizes resources.

Approaches to Giving

Donors are changing how they finance their giving. The following strategies are becoming more popular and common:

Impact Investing

Investing that aims to achieve specific social or environmental benefits in addition to a financial return. Also called social impact investing, it puts markets to work for profit and global good.

Donations of Non-Cash Assets

Converting stocks and securities, limited partnership interests, real estate and other non-cash assets into funds for charitable giving. In 2020, two-thirds of contributions to Fidelity Charitable were non-cash assets.

Donor-advised Funds

This is a philanthropic account that allows donors to contribute to a charity and qualify for an immediate tax deduction. Donors may recommend grants over time. It’s the fastest growing charitable giving vehicle in the United States because it’s simple, flexible and a tax-efficient way to give to charity.

Implementing specific financial strategies, such as contributing long-term appreciated securities instead of cash or setting up a donor-advised fund may increase one’s charitable capacity. Some donors set up giving circles which bring individuals together to pool their resources around a common cause for greater effect. There are many alternatives, each with its own requirements and benefits.

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