Near the end of 2006, Bob Carter came up with a list of "12 ways to give during the 12 days of Christmas." (Carter is president of Ketchum, a fundraising counseling firm to nonprofits.) The 12 days of Christmas have passed, but it's still worth sharing with your charitable-planning clients these possible ways of giving.
1. Give a gift of direct cash. Giving cash allows the charity the freedom to use the money any way it wishes.
2. Gift appreciated securities. The full market value on the date of transfer is tax deductible and it is still one of the very best ways to give.
3. Give away real estate. If you gift one of your homes, consider a life use agreement. You can continue to live in the domicile and get some benefits of a large charitable gift at the same time.
4. Gift whole life insurance. Gift insurance policies to your charity by transferring ownership as well as the beneficiary.
5. Gift a life income instrument. Trusts can be funded in many different ways to generate income for you and yours once the assets are transferred to your favorite charity.
6. Gift to a family member. You can gift children and grandchildren up to $12,000 a year without tax consequences.
7. Gift your IRA. If you are age 70 or older, the pension reform bill provides an exclusion from gross income for certain distributions of up to $100,000 from an IRA/Roth IRA.
8. Donate food. There is now an enhanced charitable deduction for donations of food.
9. Donate books. The new provisions allow the donation of books to include public schools.
10. Gift S corporation stock. Gift the basis adjustment to stock of S corporations contributing property.
11. Gift land. There is an increased deduction for donating open land for conservation purposes.
12. Volunteer. Call a local charity and give them some hours of volunteer service. It is the best holiday therapy of all!
Bob Carter is president of Ketchum and leads the firm's sales and marketing teams. He also provides senior-level development, management, and campaign counsel to a broad cross section of gift-supported organizations. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .