How to make charitable giving work in your budget

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When people think of charitable giving, they often think it’s something that needs to be done in large sums, and therefore, is only for millionaires.But with a little planning, charitable giving is something that can fit into most everyone’s budget and it doesn’t have to break your bank account.

“Every little bit makes a difference and is truly valued,” says Lisa Anibal, director of Nebraska Medicine Philanthropic Programs at the University of Nebraska Foundation. “When you pool all gifts together, it can do big things, like fund promising research, improve a patient’s experience or fund new equipment.”

Giving can provide personal benefits as well. “We have many patients and families who give because they find it helps them with the healing process; some find it gives them an opportunity to help future patients; still others give as a way to express their thanks and gratitude for their care,” says Anibal.

And people who are able to give back experience a great sense of satisfaction, Anibal says. According to a study cited a in the book, “Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending,” individuals who spent $5 on someone else reported being happier than those that spent $20 on themselves.

Gifts benefiting Nebraska Medicine can be made in many amounts and forms – cash, check, credit card or planned giving through your estate, commercial, residential or agricultural holdings. You need to decide what works best for you. A gift also can be made in memory of, or to honor a family member, friend or caregiver.

What if you really want to give, but you feel strapped for cash? Anibal suggests you sit down at the beginning of the year and decide how much you can afford to give based on your budget. Then make a monthly pledge. Many donors set up a monthly recurring gift on their credit card or through payroll deduction. “When you do it this way, it is spread out throughout the course of the year, and most likely, you won’t even notice the difference,” says Anibal.

Charitable giving can also provide tax benefits. Tax reform at the end of 2017 increased the limitation for the deductibility of cash contributions as a percentage of taxable income. Gifts of appreciated assets, like stocks or real estate, continue to provide a “double dip” for a donor by allowing a charitable tax deduction while avoiding tax on any capital gains that would have been realized if the assets were sold. If you are considering a gift of appreciated assets, be sure to talk with your financial advisor.

When you give to Nebraska Medicine, you can designate your gift to a specific area or an existing fund. Gifts can go in a general fund called the Nebraska Medicine Excellence Fund, which allows the funds to be used for areas of greatest need at the discretion of the CEO. Other existing funds include the Patient Assistance Fund, Child Life program and Transplant Fund. The Patient Assistance Fund helps those who need assistance with everyday needs such as lodging, meals, gas cards and transportation. The Child Life program helps families understand the health care environment and develop age-appropriate ways to cope. The Transplant Fund can by designated toward a specific organ and is used to help support patients and families undergoing transplants at Nebraska Medicine.

“No matter what you give, private support can help patients, families, clinicians, researchers, students and educators here at Nebraska Medicine for years to come,” says Anibal. “You will be helping all of those who work at Nebraska Medicine in their effort to provide serious medicine and extraordinary care.”

This story was provided to the foundation courtesy of Nebraska Medicine.

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