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A donation given directly from an individual to an IRS-approved charity in return for a full tax deduction based on the fair market value of the gift. The vast majority of charitable gifts in the United States are given directly.
Direct giving allows individuals to issue one-time gifts without making a long-term commitment or involving a third party. For donors who are trying to scale their impact, however, direct giving may not be the most efficient giving option—many nonprofits, for example, are unable to accept direct contributions of appreciated securities or complex assets.
An effective option for individuals who:
Gift smaller amounts of cash and prefer to personally manage their investments and contributions. Want their donations to go directly to charitable causes.
|Tax efficacy||Full||Full deduction based on fair market value. Certain limits may apply depending on the nature of the assets donated and if the charity receiving the donation is a private foundation.|
|Cost||None||No costs incurred when giving directly.|
|Control||Maximum||You manage all donation decisions and may work with a charity to determine the timing, type, and recognition of a gift.|
|Distribution to charity||No restrictions||May donate to any nonprofit organizations you choose subject to certain deduction limitations.|
|Legacy options||None||None, unless you establish a deferred gift plan with a charity of your choice.|
|Recognition v. anonymity||Some flexibility||Choose when and how you and your gift are represented each time you give; may be challenging to give anonymously.|