Tips from SVCF Philanthropy Advisors: Make your year-end giving meaningful

-	Photo courtesy of Daly City PartnershipPhoto courtesy of Daly City Partnership (taken pre-pandemic)

Gleaning from what we learn from our nonprofit and community partners and donors, SVCF works to drive systemic change so that all who live and work in our region can thrive. We are grateful for the many partners joining us as we face our region’s challenges – including the housing crisis, financial stability for low-income families, and more. And with the busiest time of year for charitable giving upon us, SVCF’s team of philanthropic advisors have comprised this series of tips to support anyone seeking to maximize their charitable impact during this critical time.

Leverage Local Expertise

If you are looking for expert guidance on high-impact, local nonprofits to include in your year-end grant recommendations, we encourage you to check out SVCF’s Giving Guides. Each guide is curated by the members of our Community, Action, Policy & Strategy Team and vetted by SVCF’s Community Advisory Council and other nonprofit partners in Silicon Valley. The guides feature organizations addressing the most pressing challenges facing our local community, including early childhood care and education, housing, financial stability and several other cause areas. These nonprofits share the following characteristics:

  1. a track record of achieving programmatic goals with evaluation metrics in place,
  2. leadership that is dynamic, adaptive and diverse,
  3. healthy and sustainable finances,
  4. systems in place to prioritize continuous improvement and staff development.

Build in Flexibility

Photo courtesy of JobTrain- Photo courtesy of JobTrain

The pandemic era has taught us to expect the unexpected. Although none of us can predict what the year ahead will bring, you can position yourself to respond to emergent needs by building flexibility into your philanthropy. As you develop your charitable budget for 2022, consider setting aside a certain percentage of your overall giving, such as 10 percent, for “flexible philanthropy.” This will allow you to respond thoughtfully when a new need arises, such as an environmental disaster, a humanitarian crisis or a time-sensitive campaign led by your favorite nonprofit.

Focus on Equity

A recent study by leaders in philanthropic research shows that nonprofits led by people of color receive less funding than similar organizations whose leaders are white. But you, and other donors like you, can help change systems that perpetuate inequitable practices and increase opportunities for communities of color, low-income families and those without documentation to thrive. Two ways you can take action today include:

  1. funding more nonprofits led by people of color and
  2. increasing funding to those organizations you are already supporting.

SVCF has created local giving guides to support Black-led organizations, Latinx-led organizations, and organizations serving Asian American and Pacific Islander  communities. Another way you can advance equity in your philanthropy is by providing unrestricted grants to nonprofits whenever possible, trusting that the leaders of the organizations will know where to deploy your support most effectively across their operations.

Consider Multiple Methods of Giving

Photo courtesy of Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo CountyPhoto courtesy of Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County

Many people contribute cash or appreciated stock to advance their charitable goals, but did you know your donor advised fund provides the flexibility to give many different types of assets? For example, you have the option to contribute gifts of real estate, privately held stock, and/or specific forms of cryptocurrency to fund your giving. SVCF is proud to be a leader in helping donors strategically expand their philanthropy by accepting diverse assets. Reach out to to learn more and explore how you may be able to increase your grantmaking in a tax-advantaged way.

Think About Your Legacy

During this season of reflection, you may be thinking about how to maximize your donor advised fund both today and in perpetuity. SVCF is thrilled to introduce our new Director of Planned Giving, Sindy Craig, who is here to help you navigate these questions. Sindy has more than 25 years of nonprofit-sector experience helping individuals and multi-generational families meet their diverse planning needs and ensure their legacy of community impact. There are many charitable giving solutions that can help you meet your goals. Some programs can generate an income stream during your lifetime; others allow you to set aside charitable funds in a will or leverage your retirement account for charitable purposes. Contact your philanthropy advisor to set up a meeting about planned giving.


It’s our pleasure to help you with your 2021 year-end giving. Please review these key dates and deadlines, and let us know if we can assist you! Email us at or call 650.450.5402.