Perhaps you established a donor-advised fund at the Winona Community Foundation years ago, or you set up a donor-advised fund more recently. Or maybe you are considering establishing a donor-advised fund with us this year to help you keep your giving more organized and involve your children and grandchildren in your philanthropic priorities.

Whatever the case may be in your situation, it’s a great idea to consider a few best practices for ensuring that your donor-advised fund is making the biggest difference possible for the causes you care about. Life gets busy, the months fly by, and it’s tempting to put your donor-advised fund on autopilot. But that would be a missed opportunity.

By now, you likely know that a donor-advised fund at the Foundation offers the convenience of a one-stop-shop: You make tax-deductible contributions of cash (or, ideally, appreciated stock) to the fund, and then recommend grants to your favorite charities. Make sure you’re leveraging your donor-advised fund to execute the full range of your charitable giving each year. You’ll find it so much easier to keep track over time of where you’re giving, and how much.

As the hub of your charitable giving, the Winona Community Foundation certainly makes it easy for you to use your donor-advised fund for your annual giving to charities. But that’s not all. As you work closely with us, you’re likely to discover even more ways our team can support your philanthropic activities:

–We can help you establish a designated or field-of-interest fund to complement your donor-advised fund. A designated fund allows you to name one or more specific charities to receive a grant over an extended period of time (forever when the fund is endowed), while a field-of-interest fund focuses your support on a particular area of community need by leveraging the Foundation’s expertise on how to best support that area. Unlike donor advised funds, if you are over the age of 70½ and you own one or more IRAs, designated fund or field-of-interest fund can receive Qualified Charitable Distributions up to $100,000 per year per spouse, bypassing your taxable income.

–We can work with you and your attorney to help you establish a gift in your estate plan to support your favorite causes beyond your lifetime. Many fund holders at the Winona Community Foundation name their donor-advised funds, field-of-interest funds, designated funds, or even the Foundation itself, as beneficiaries in their wills and trusts, and especially as beneficiaries of IRAs and other qualified plans because doing so delivers significant tax benefits. If you’re not involved as a legacy donor already, please reach out and we’ll fill you in! We can help you prepare for a conversation with your financial advisor, accountant, or attorney at no cost to you.

–We can help you and your family learn more about your favorite nonprofit organizations and the issues they are addressing so that you can become more informed and effective philanthropists in our community. Our staff’s unparalleled knowledge of local issues and organizations is a real advantage for you and your family. When you better understand the needs of the Winona community and how your favorite nonprofits are addressing those needs, you’ll be better equipped to structure your giving so that it makes a difference in measurable ways. You’ll enjoy your charitable giving a lot more, too.

We hope you’ll consider your donor-advised fund–and your connection with the Winona Community Foundation–as the hub of your philanthropy. Our staff is here to help you make the most of your donor-advised fund and related strategies so that you’re not only putting your money to work to improve the quality of life in our community, but you’re also achieving financial and philanthropic goals for your overall charitable giving.