Three Ways to Maximize Clients’ Charitable Impact – a Conversation with Jeff Raikes

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As 2018 comes to a close, it is a great time to discuss clients’ charitable giving strategies for next year and beyond.

Fred Kaynor, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Schwab Charitable, sat down with Jeff Raikes, co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, to discuss strategies to help advisors maximize clients’ charitable impact.

Fred Kaynor: Thank you for joining us for a discussion about maximizing the impact of your clients’ philanthropy. I’m joined by Jeff Raikes, co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, philanthropist, and well-known leader in helping donors truly maximize the impact of their philanthropic giving.

Jeff Raikes: There’s a tremendous opportunity to have advisors help design and execute their clients’ philanthropy to have greater impact. We find that few people actually know how to do the research that really informs their philanthropy. If advisors aren’t helping to design their clients’ approach on philanthropy to give with impact, they may miss out on the opportunity to make a difference, and if we miss that opportunity, people will be giving with less joy. And we think one of the great things about giving with impact is that it gives people great joy.

Fred Kaynor: Absolutely. We also like to try to do whatever we can to help advisors really maximize the impact of their client’s giving resources. As a part of that journey, finding the best giving vehicle for that purpose is a great solution. Donor-advised funds, private foundations, community foundations, gift annuities, and trusts all have very valuable roles to play, and they contribute in very different ways, both individually and collectively, to really providing the best platform for advisors to help clients optimize their giving.

Jeff Raikes: Yes, and what we want to do is help advisors see how they approach clients’ philanthropy, not only from the perspective of the giving vehicle, but also from the perspective of how they can help clients create their strategy. That is one thing that we’ve learned that’s so important. In fact, there are really three themes that stand out.

  • One is donors, your clients, should choose an area where they’ll have a clear and sustained focus. Have them pick something that they’re passionate about. Maybe it’s the environment, or education, or homelessness. If they pick something that they’re passionate about, it’s more likely that they’re going to stick with it for the long term and have the ability to work with others to really make an impact.
  • The second thing that’s very important is to have a research-informed strategy. There are a lot of issues out there that other people are researching. What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? Who should you be collaborating with? That research can help your clients do the landscape work to understand the opportunity for their giving to make a difference.
  • And the third thing is the importance of continuous collaboration and learning. If we’re going to have great impact with our philanthropy, we’re going to do it by working well with others - the people who are on the ground closest to the issues, other donors who are like-minded in their work.

Fred Kaynor: That’s such great insight on how to formulate the strategy to really achieve maximum impact.

The donor-advised fund can help advisors further extend the impact of the resources that clients give. We enable people to give a variety of different kinds of assets. Clients can give cash, appreciated stock, restricted stock, real estate, and private business interests, and they can do so in a manner that’s highly tax-efficient. They avoid capital gains and they also get an immediate fair market value tax deduction. And, ultimately, that process is so efficient that in most cases, it results in the maximum amount going to the ultimate causes and charities that they choose to support.

Jeff Raikes: The great thing about that is if clients can be thoughtful and efficient and give with impact, they will find great joy. And as Melinda Gates said to me one time, the most important thing that you need to do in your philanthropy is to find the joy. And this is an opportunity to help your clients do that.


A donor’s ability to claim itemized deductions is subject to a variety of limitations depending on the donor’s specific tax situation.

Contributions of certain real estate, private equity or other illiquid assets are accepted via a charitable intermediary, with proceeds transferred to a donor-advised account upon liquidation. This intermediary considers donations on a case-by-case basis, and assets typically must be valued at $250,000 or more. Call the Fund for more information at 800-746-6216.

The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal or investment planning advice. Schwab Charitable does not provide legal or tax advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, Schwab Charitable recommends consultation with a qualified tax advisor or CPA.

Schwab Charitable is the name used for the combined programs and services of Schwab Charitable Fund™, an independent nonprofit organization. Schwab Charitable Fund has entered into service agreements with certain affiliates of The Charles Schwab Corporation.

Schwab Charitable Fund is recognized as a tax-exempt public charity as described in Sections 501©(3), 509(a)(1), and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions made to Schwab Charitable are considered an irrevocable gift and are not refundable. Please be aware that Schwab Charitable has exclusive legal control over the assets you have contributed. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is correct, Schwab Charitable cannot guarantee its accuracy. This information is not provided to the IRS.

Copyright 2018 Schwab Charitable Fund. All rights reserved. 0119-80YK

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