Philanthropy: Are your business and charitable goals aligned?

“Giving back” is a term that triggers a range of interesting emotions.  For many people, the suggestion they should “give back” implies they have taken something that wasn’t rightfully theirs.  This, of course, is very rarely the case, except when we consider that no person achieves great things alone.  We are all the product of our environment, our families, our friends and our communities.

Ultimately, the motivation to give back to the community that has helped make a business become successful cannot come from a sense of obligation or guilt.  Rather, successful people around the world have discovered that “giving back” provides a feeling of well-being and gratitude to the giver as much, if not more, than the receiver of the gift.  Supporting community needs is also something that makes economic sense.  After all, people living in crisis cannot help our economy grow; they cannot support our businesses; and they cannot be effective and productive citizens.

Whatever a person’s motivation for considering charity in their financial plans, it will be important to develop a plan for giving.  Each person’s financial situation is unique.  There are many different tools for maximizing both the financial benefit to the donor and the overall benefit to the community.  Planning a gift should include discussions with a variety of professionals including financial planners, insurance advisors, accountants, lawyers and charity advisors.

Does your unique situation imply that you should be giving a gift during your lifetime or in your estate?  Do your goals for your gift require that you establish an endowment fund or make a direct, one-time gift?  Which charities are best suited to fulfill your wishes?  These are all questions that do have answers… but it requires some thought and consultation with professionals.

The Community Foundation which encompasses the South Okanagan often acts as a charity advisor for potential donors, helping ensure that their giving goals are met in the most effective way possible.  In that work, we’ve discovered that one of the biggest barriers to beginning is actually just beginning.  Think about how your business goals might align with your charity goals.  Think about causes you’re naturally drawn to… and then start!  Consider if you want to make an immediate impact with a specific charity or if you want to build a lasting legacy for your community.  If it’s the latter, then an endowment fund with a foundation might be a good choice.

There’s also time to make sure you get a tax receipt for the 2015 tax year.  Any donations received by a charity before the end of the calendar year will receive a tax receipt that can offset 2015 income taxes.  This can have a significant impact on personal or business taxes, depending on your situation so call your advisors as soon as possible.

Aaron McRann Community Foundation

Aaron McRann

Executive Director

Community Foundation of

South Okanagan Similkameen


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