Making the Most of a Charitable Solution: GIVE to a Donor-Advised Fund

Making the Most of a Charitable Solution: GIVE to a Donor-Advised Fund

breiby@growyourgiving.orgIndividual & Family Giving

Learn how you can contribute to your fund to maximize the amount you give to charity. Options include donations of appreciated stock and complex assets, like real estate and privately held business interests. Corey Ziegler, vice president and corporate counsel, Greater Horizons, discusses the basic structure of a donor-advised fund and what types of assets can be donated to one.

Corey explains the basic structures of a donor-advised fund are: GIVE, GRANT, GROW. She focuses on the first aspect of this charitable solution, which is to GIVE.

If You Use Your Donor-Advised Fund as Your Chosen Charitable Solution, How Often Can You GIVE?

Donor-advised funds are a popular charitable solution because, at Greater Horizons, there are no minimum or maximum amounts you must give at any time. You can contribute to your donor-advised fund as often as you like—monthly, quarterly or yearly—whichever works best for you.

What Kind of Assets Can You Give to Your Fund?

Corey discusses a variety of assets you can donate to your donor-advised fund and categorizes them under cash, marketable securities and complex assets.


Cash donations are the way many donors begin taking advantage of their charitable solution, a donor-advised fund. If you wish to donate cash to your fund, you may do so with a check, credit card or wire transfer. Should you choose a wire transfer, be sure to include your six-digit fund ID so our team can quickly and accurately allocate the money to your fund.

Marketable Securities

You might consider a gift of appreciated assets, like appreciated stock, to give to your donor-advised fund. Not only do you benefit from a charitable tax deduction, you also avoid the long-term capital gains tax that will be due when the stock is sold.

In the video, Corey shares a chart illustrating how it works. Under the assumption the cost basis is $2,000 and you are in the 35% federal income tax bracket, giving a cash gift of $25,000 lets you take a $25,000 charitable tax deduction, for an income tax savings of $8,750. Donating cash is good, but stock is better. Gifting appreciated stock with a $25,000 fair market value, still lets you take a $25,000 charitable tax deduction, but long-term capital gains tax equaling $4,600 is avoided for a $13,300 total tax savings.

If you would like to donate publicly traded stock to your donor-advised fund, wiring instructions are on our website. Please be sure to let us know it is coming. And, like cash donations, make sure to include your six-digit fund ID.

Complex Assets

You might have other appreciated assets that are not publicly traded securities, we call those complex assets. For example, real estate, such as your personal residence, commercial property, farmland or undeveloped property, as well as privately held business interests.

You might be thinking about selling your business and prior to the sale you would like to donate a portion of the business to charity. Greater Horizons can accept C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC and Limited Partnership interests. We also accept a variety of other complex assets, including life insurance policies, retirement plans, negotiable instruments, oil and gas interests, private equity, and cryptocurrency.

With so many options, contributing to your donor-advised fund is easy. Just follow the simple contribution instructions.

Donating After Death

If you would like to donate assets after your lifetime, we have sample bequest and beneficiary language available on our website, which you can provide to your attorney to work into your estate plan.

Greater Horizons is happy to think through charitable solutions with you and your advisors. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to Donor Services at or 866.627.3440.