With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we are reminded that now is a great time for giving. 

When you make a donation by Dec. 31 to the Dyersville Area Community Foundation, you aren’t just giving money—you’re making a difference in our community.  Here are 10 ways to make the most of your year-end giving. 

1. Talk to your advisor.

Before making any significant gift to charity, consult with your CPA, attorney or other advisor to understand the impact on your taxes and estate.

2. Consider your income.

Take time to understand your tax liability for the year. Did your unearned income increase? Did you sell any appreciated assets? The answers to these questions may determine how much you want to give by Dec. 31. 

3. Review your stocks. 

If you’d like to make a year-end charitable gift, consider giving appreciated stock. Selling stock will incur capital gains on the appreciation, but if you gift stock, you will receive a charitable deduction for the current market value of the stock—just as you would with a cash gift. 

4. Give early and complete your gift by Dec. 31. 

A gift by check is complete when mailed (postmarked) to the charitable recipient, even if not cashed until the following year. Gifts by credit card are complete when your credit card account is charged. Gifts of stock and real estate are more complex; don’t wait until late December to make these gifts as it may be too late to make the necessary arrangements.

5. Know the organizations you support. 

While there are many worthy causes, only donations to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations are tax-deductible. If you give through the Community Foundation, we will document the status of all nonprofits prior to making a gift on your behalf and can help you identify organizations that are qualified to receive your gift. 

6. Do you have more than enough?

If you’re receiving taxable income from retirement plan assets or life insurance policies, there are a number of tax-advantaged ways to make these assets work for you and the causes you support. Talk with your professional advisor.

7. Explore employer gift matching programs. 

Many companies offer gift matching programs that can increase—even double—the impact of your gift.

8. Give now—decide later.

If you are planning for a charitable tax deduction in 2014 but are undecided about which nonprofits to support, consider opening a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation. You can claim a deduction for contributions to your fund now even though distributions from the fund might be made in future years. A donor-advised fund can be set up in one meeting. 

9. Create a giving plan. 

The Community Foundation can help you create a giving plan to help you think strategically about how you give and to what organizations. This ensures that your donations make the greatest impact on the causes you care about while maximizing tax advantages. 

10. Let the Community Foundation do the legwork.

Working with a philanthropic advisor at the Community Foundation gives you access to our extensive knowledge of the local nonprofit community and the broad charitable needs of our region—so you can stay informed about the organizations you support and the effect your giving will have on the future of our community. 

Nancy Dunkel is the Executive Director of the Dyersville Area Community Foundation.  Her email address is  nadunkel@yahoo.com, and her phone number is 599-7094.

More information is also available by calling CFGD Director of Affiliate Foundations MJ Smith at880-9992 or at www.dbqfoundation.org/DACF.