Charitable giving tips from SVCF philanthropy experts

Giving Tips

The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on gratitude and generosity. At SVCF, we believe giving should be one of life’s greatest joys, so we have provided some simple tips below to bring some more cheer to your grantmaking, and increase your impact!

1. Support your neighbors. Silicon Valley is experiencing a staggering income inequality gap. Many of our neighbors in Silicon Valley face food insecurity, housing challenges and a lack of access to medical care. Our 2019 Giving Guide includes a number of safety net organizations providing essential services to the Silicon Valley community that would welcome your support.

2. Give to general operating support. The rising costs of rent, transportation and operations are impacting our nonprofit community, forcing organizations to relocate and make difficult financial decisions. When you donate to general operating support, you are investing in the mission of the organization and enabling them to put the funds to best use.

  • SVCF Philanthropy Advisor Linda Nguyen shared, “I support a donor that is a long-time program-specific funder of the Gilroy Community Foundation. After the tragic shooting this summer, the donor realized the foundation needed more administrative support to process the large volume of incoming donations. As a result, my donor made a grant for general administrative support.”
  • SVCF Director of Donor Engagement Andy Perkins noted, “General operating support grants are truly a gift within a gift these days. As nonprofit budgets get tighter and administration costs become harder to fundraise for, general operating support grants are incredibly valuable as they show trust and confidence in the nonprofit and give them the ability to be flexible and nimble in addressing the areas of greatest need.”

3. Involve your family. Philanthropy can be a powerful tool for your family to discuss your personal and collective values. This holiday season consider asking your children or grandchildren how they would direct grant dollars if given a budget. You may be delighted to learn more about their interests and values in the process.

  • Nguyen: “I work with a donor who has four children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren between the ages of 12-21, and they are all part of their fund’s advisory committee.  Each grandchild is asked to submit a request to the fund advisors that must include their personal involvement with the charity. The fund advisor’s goal in doing this is “to help his grandchildren gain exposure to the vast needs in segments of our society and to participate in the difficult choices since the capital is limited.””
  • Perkins: “When I was about seven or eight years old, my dad had me sit down with him and read through the holiday giving guide in the local paper, and he talked to me about the range of needs in our community – shelter, food, school supplies, etc. And then at the end of the conversation he said it was up to me how our family would spend that year’s charitable budget of $500 – which was a huge amount for us. I think back on that moment often and how much it has shaped who I am, how I think about need in the world, and what I need to do to give back. And that lesson comes back to me stronger and stronger every year. The holidays are one of the best times to make memories that really last, and this is the perfect time of year to truly teach the gift of giving to your children.”

4. Keep deadlines in mind. If you’re an SVCF fund holder, we request that you submit your grant recommendations by Monday, December 9, in order for a domestic organization to receive a grant before the end of the year. More information regarding year-end deadlines can be found here.

5. Make a grant in their honor. If you’re having trouble selecting a holiday gift for someone this year, consider making a grant in their honor! This thoughtful gift is sure to warm their heart. If you are recommending a grant through your fund at SVCF, include “In honor of...” in the Grant Purpose field in our online system.

  • Maeve Miccio, a vice president on SVCF's donor engagement team, says, “When I ask my Dad what he would like for Christmas he always tells me he doesn’t need a gift. He is the type of guy that doesn’t ask for much and always gives back. In fact, he spends most weekends volunteering his time as the director of the local soup kitchen. This year I will be making a grant to the soup kitchen in his honor to recognize his dedication and service."

We wish you a wonderful holiday season and look forward to helping you achieve your giving goals in 2019 and beyond!