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  • Writer's pictureBranch County Community Foundation

Unlock the Unexpected Power of Regret to Grow Your Charitable Giving



Did you know that the community foundation provides “regret mitigation” services? We’re only half kidding!


Not surprisingly, financial regrets are common, with those related to personal finances among the most frequent. Of recently surveyed American retirees, 75% wish they’d started saving earlier, and 62% wished they’d saved more money for their golden years.


On the personal side of the equation, people frequently regret failing to show kindness when someone is in need. These types of regrets can be uncovered in the flipside of the well-documented motivations for giving in the first place. In short, people want to help others, and, upon reflection, they often regret not doing so.


The topic of regret is getting a lot of play. In his 2022 book, The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward, Daniel Pink describes the results of his years of research on human regret. Pink identifies different types of regret and offers readers the perspective that not all regrets need to act as negative forces if they inspire you to behave differently moving forward.

The experienced team at the community foundation can help you avoid charitable giving regrets, especially by making it easy for you to activate your charitable intentions in the most tax-effective ways possible to make an even bigger difference in the causes you care about.


For example:


Get organized with a donor-advised fund.

If you’ve already established a donor-advised fund at the community foundation (or if you are considering doing so!), you know that the community foundation handles all of the logistics, including providing 501(c)(3) status for your fund so that your contributions are tax-deductible, facilitating your contributions to the fund in the form of cash or stock, processing disbursements to your favorite charities, and handling all of the necessary tax documentation. A donor-advised fund makes it so much easier to organize and maximize your charitable giving.


Grow your philanthropy through planned giving.

In many cases, the community foundation can help identify ways you can support your favorite charities at even higher levels than you thought possible by deploying planned giving techniques such as bequests and charitable remainder trusts. Designating your fund at the community foundation as the beneficiary of your IRA, for example, is especially powerful.


Rally other fund holders and donors.

If you’ve established a field of interest or designated fund at the community foundation, don’t forget that you can rally friends and family to join you in growing that fund. Philanthropic individuals and families are often open to new ideas about where to invest their charitable dollars. Many people look to the community foundation as a point of validation that the IRS’s boxes have been checked and for peace of mind knowing that the fund benefits from the oversight and advocacy of a dedicated community institution. What’s more, it’s rewarding as a fund holder to get to know other fund holders and donors who are involved with the community foundation and who also want to explore ways they can support the various funds featured in the community foundation’s marketing materials and on its website.


If you wish you’d been able to do more for your favorite causes earlier in your life, there’s no need to hold onto those regrets! The community foundation can help you build a charitable giving plan to reflect a lifetime of strong commitment to the organizations in our community. We look forward to working with you!


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