Buying extra time for charitable gifts

July 4, 2008

I want to give $10,000 or so to charity and claim the tax deduction for 2008, but I'd like to take my time evaluating potential recipients first. Is there any way for me to get credit for the donation now but make it later?

I want to give $10,000 or so to charity and claim the tax deduction for 2008, but I'd like to take my time evaluating potential recipients first. Is there any way for me to get credit for the donation now but make it later?

Yes, by making a donation to a donor-advised fund, a public charity established to receive funds from donors and give grants in their names. You'd have to give the money to the fund by Dec. 31 to deduct it on your 2008 return, but you could delay distributions to specific charities as long as you choose. In the meantime, the donor-advised fund will invest the cash and deduct a fee for managing it.

A number of mutual fund companies, including Fidelity Investments ( http://www.charitablegift.org), T. Rowe Price ( http://www.programforgiving.org), and Vanguard ( http://www.vanguardcharitable.org), offer donor-advised funds. So do brokerages such as Charles Schwab ( http://www.schwabcharitable.org) and independent sponsors such as the American Endowment Foundation ( http://www.aefonline.org). All have different fee structures and investment options, so compare a few before making a final selection.

Send your money management questions to: MMQA Editor, Medical Economics, 123 Tice Blvd., Suite 300, Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677-7664, or send an e-mail to memoney@advanstar.com (please include your regular postal address).