In 2017, we will share first-hand stories of how clients use their DonorsTrust donor-advised accounts in different ways. Here is Frayda Levy’s story, the second installment in our series. You can read the previous article here.
There is an old joke. One businessman says to another, “Our accountant saves us a lot of time.”
The second businessman asks, “How much time could your accountant save you?”
The first businessman responds, “Mmmm about — one to five years!”
I am sure that none who are reading this article are risking jail time for your charitable giving accounting practices. Still, all donors on some level worry if they have properly accounted for their giving and if all the charities to which they give are IRS approved C(3)s. All of that worry goes away when donating via DonorsTrust.
By the time my husband, Ken, and I decided to open a DonorsTrust account, we were already giving to about 30-40 charities a year. For the most part, we did not need assistance vetting the charities. However, I was drowning in complicated spreadsheet calculations. During tax season, I spent hours trying to reconcile our checkbook and credit card donations with the spreadsheet on which I tracked all of our giving. We did not want to risk paying any fines, but we also wanted to be sure that we got the full tax deduction for all our giving.
At some point, we realized all of that hassle would be eliminated if we did our giving via DonorsTrust. Once or twice a year my husband sends appreciated securities to DonorsTrust. The accounting is so simple – we only have to track one or two donations.
Plus, there is wonderful benefit of getting a full donation for appreciated securities – without paying capital gains tax.
At first, I feared that donating through a third party – DonorsTrust – would be cumbersome. It all seemed complicated…filling out forms to donate, etc.
I was so wrong. Donating through DonorsTrust is super easy– and saves me so much time. The forms are only there if you want to use them.
How it Works
Whenever we want to donate, I simply write an email to DonorsTrust’s dedicated grants email address. That email is opened by a super helpful guy named Tom.
My email lists the organizations and the amounts we want to donate. That’s pretty much it. I often get an immediate confirmation. There might be a question or two – as DonorsTrust wants to ensure that all of our requests are followed. For example, we can donate anonymously – or just provide our names with no address to the organizations receiving grants, etc.
The Trusty Team
By the way, no amount or donation is too small. We donate quarterly, so I can group the donations for efficiency. At one point, late in December, we authorized a small emergency grant. I apologized to the DT staff about this “one off” and it being in the middle of Christmas season. The response I received from their CFO, Jeff, was, “Not to worry, writing checks is what we do.” I like that. It means I no longer have to print checks, write up envelopes, or get and use stamps.
I will also vouch for the accuracy of the DonorsTrust team. Since we began donating five years ago, every grant was processed correctly.
The only thing I cannot explain is what has happened to all that time I used to spend on our charity. Well, at least it allowed me time to write this article urging any and all to switch to DT giving.
There is a saying that some things are too good to be true. However when it comes to giving through DonorsTrust, I reverse that saying. It is true that DonorsTrust is too good not to be used.
Frayda Levy owned and managed a book distribution business for 18 years. After selling her business, she co-founded Moving Picture Institute, which promotes liberty through film. She also co-founded the NJ Chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Frayda is a member of several boards including, the Club For Growth, Americans for Prosperity and Foundation for Economic Education. She began her working career as Legislative Aide on Capitol Hill and then in the Reagan Bush Administration. She and her husband, Ken, live in New Jersey.