Gifts of cash or stock: Is it a toss-up?

As your charitable clients can likely attest, the going has been rough for many of the nonprofit organizations they support. Turbulent economic conditions, concerns about inflation, and challenges in the banking sector are just a few of the factors that are causing donors to be more financially conservative and perhaps begin to evaluate whether to keep their charitable giving at the levels of years past.

At the same time, many of your clients deeply understand the need to support the nonprofit sector and continue giving to the charities they love. Philanthropic support to these organizations is critical to maintaining and improving the quality of life in Lincoln and beyond. This is especially true as the number of households giving to charity has declined by more than 16% during the last three years. 

As we head into the summer months, it’s a good idea to touch base with your clients about their charitable giving budgets for 2023 and help them evaluate the types of assets that are best suited to give to charity. In some cases, it may be best for your clients to give cash. In others, stock may be more appropriate. 

For example, as interest rates and inflation continue to increase clients’ concerns about their household finances, you and your clients may decide that preserving cash is a priority. This means that some of your clients who typically give cash to their favorite charities or donor advised funds may be reluctant to do so this year. There’s a silver lining here, because giving appreciated, publicly-traded stock to charitable organizations is a highly effective tax strategy in any economy. The client is typically eligible for an income tax deduction at the fair market value of the securities, and when the charity sells the securities, the charity does not pay capital gains tax. It’s a win-win! And even in a rocky stock market, not all stocks are down. Many of your clients are no doubt holding long-term stock positions that have appreciated substantially since they were purchased, even with the current stock market malaise.

For some clients whose portfolios are down significantly, this may be a year to consider contributing cash to an LCF donor advised fund instead of donating appreciated stock. Gifts of cash could reduce the burden on a client’s personal stock positions that may have fallen in value dramatically, giving these positions more time to recover value and, at some point in the future, perhaps contributed to a donor advised fund at a higher value. 
In turbulent times like this, donor advised funds may come in especially handy. Now is the time to discuss charitable giving with those clients who regularly added to their donor advised funds throughout the market’s long bull run. If these clients intend to ride out today’s market conditions in their personal portfolios, an up-and-down stock market doesn’t mean the clients’ 2023 charitable giving must take a hit. They can use their LCF donor advised fund to support their favorite organizations, sometimes even at levels consistent with prior years. 

As always, please reach out to discuss options for your clients’ charitable giving. We are happy to help you help your clients achieve their goals, even in a year as bumpy as 2023 appears to be!