Why We Give – Charitable Planning for All
Volume 5 • Issue 11 • November 2015
The Counselor is a monthly newsletter of Hallock & Hallock dedicated to providing useful information on estate planning, business succession planning and charitable planning issues. In this month’s issue, we will discuss the why of charitable planning. If you are interested in learning more about the ideas and processes discussed in this newsletter, please contact us for an initial consultation.
“Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” Jacob 2:17-19
As we near the middle of November with Thanksgiving quickly approaching and Christmas soon to follow, many begin with greater earnest to turn their hearts outward to the needs of others. The United States is a nation of givers. According to Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute and formerly a professor at Syracuse University, “Seventy-five percent of America’s families give every year. Fifty percent volunteer their time, and many Americans give in myriad other ways that are not captured in data.” By some estimates, we give over $300 Billion each year to charity. However, many still look upon charitable giving as something only for the super wealthy and then only to avoid taxes.
The LDS Philanthropies Gift Planning Council recently convened its annual conference in Salt Lake City. Attorneys, Accountants, Wealth Advisors, and Trust Officers from around the country gathered to discuss planned giving and the best practices when advising families in regards to charitable planning and wealth transfer. The theme of this year’s conference was: “It’s Not Just About the Money. . .” Speakers discussed the many “whys” of giving beyond just money.
Why Do We Give?
So, why do we give? The answer is that we give for many reasons – here are a few:
We give because of our faith.
We give because of a life changing experience.
We give because we see a need.
Ultimately, as Pamela Hawley explained, we give because of love. We also give because it expands our own goodness. In his book Who Really Cares, Arthur C. Brooks wrote: “People who give away their time and money to established charities are far more likely than non-givers to behave generously in informal ways as well. . . . For example, one nationwide survey from 2002 tells us that money donors are nearly three times as likely as nondonors to give money informally to friends and strangers. People who give to charity at least once per year are twice as likely to donate blood as people who don’t give money. They are also significantly more likely to give food or money to a homeless person, or to give up their seats to older people on a crowded bus.” Giving makes us better people.
Where Should We Give?
Attorney and Author, Scott Farnsworth taught at the Gift Planning Council conference that giving should be “passionate, purposeful, intelligent, and inspired.” There are so many varied opportunities to give. As you embark on philanthropy, consider what inspires you. Maybe it is your university, even better maybe it is a particular field of study or a particular sport or other program. Maybe it is your church. Better yet, is there a particular giving opportunity within your Church’s mission that resonates with you?
One example of this might be the LDS Church’s FamilySearch project. FamilySearch preserves records and makes them available to people all over the world. However, the volume of records available far exceeds the capacity of FamilySearch to preserve them. In India, every ten years the census records are intentionally destroyed to make room for the new census records – lost forever. Buildings burn down, some records are housed in places that are not protected from the elements, and some records are housed solely in the memories of individuals. Donations to FamilySearch directly impact its ability to preserve records. $1.00 can preserve 10 records. $20,000 to $40,000 will support a camera team for one year which could preserve nearly 1.2 million records. If you have a passion for family history research what a great opportunity to give. If you are inspired to donate to FamilySearch you can do so here.
Giving is a two-way street that always benefits both the giver and the receiver. At different times in life you may be on different ends of that street. So ask yourself, how much is enough for me and how much can I spare? Is your intent to do good? What inspires you?
This Newsletter is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship between Hallock & Hallock and the reader.