Giving Anonymously

November 14, 2020Donor Stories

When Edward Jones financial advisor Sean Click sits down to help his clients create a financial plan, he often starts with this question: What are your financial priorities?

“Research has shown that individuals can be working toward anywhere from four to seven financial goals concurrently,” said Sean. “Examples of those goals include getting out of debt, purchasing a house, retirement and charitable giving.”

Before he joined Edward Jones, Sean ran a nonprofit team, so he is familiar with the impact charitable giving can have on a nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission. “When somebody tells me that they are charitable and are passionate about a particular cause, I take a closer look at their goals,” explained Sean.

Charitable giving is important to so many of Sean’s clients that he includes a discussion about philanthropy in his planning process. He has seen how giving strategically rather than just writing checks from their bank accounts can be more advantageous for his clients.

During one of these conversations about charitable giving, he learned a client had the ability and the desire to make a significant gift to an organization they were passionate about, but they were struggling over how to do it anonymously.

“In my work with BGCF, I’ve developed a good relationship with Jane Higgins [BGCF’s director of community advancement], so I gave her a call, explained the situation and asked if the client could give anonymously using a donor advised fund. Jane replied, ‘Absolutely,’” said Sean. “We presented this idea to the client, and they were very, very happy with the solution.”

One of the benefits of giving with a donor advised fund is it can be given a name that won’t be linked to the fundholder. When the fundholder wants to make a charitable gift, BGCF will award a grant using the fund’s name, and the fundholder will remain anonymous.

Sean has worked with numerous clients who want to give anonymously for a variety of motivations. Surveys have shown that about half of people who give anonymously do so to minimize solicitations. Some do it for religious reasons. Others just want to keep their finances private. And that’s one reason Sean likes working with BGCF: the flexibility offered to keep his clients’ giving private (or to make their giving as public as possible).

After this particular anonymous donor opened a donor advised fund and their giving grew, it became clear to Sean it was time for their giving to evolve to the next level: endowment.

“When dealing with clients who are giving at significant sums, it makes sense to raise the issue of establishing an endowment with them [and their tax professional],” Sean added.

In his experience, the best way to establish an endowment is by using Endow Kentucky Tax Credits. Understanding how these credits work has proven extremely advantageous for Sean, and for his clients.

“The way I look at the Endow Kentucky program, it gives you an opportunity to create a giving legacy that will far exceed your lifetime,” said Sean. “So that’s the question I raised with this donor: What legacy do you want to leave behind?”

This led to a robust conversation about the donor’s goals and how they could be accomplished through the enduring nature of an endowment. They discussed which organizations are doing a specific kind of work the donor is passionate about, in a precise geographic location; which are well established; and which will be doing that work for a long time.

“Figuring out what’s important to people is what I love most about my job,” said Sean. “It’s about connecting good people with the right goals to give money a purpose.”

Even though this donor wants to remain anonymous, they were amenable to their charitable story being shared.

“I hope that my story and my situation can help somebody else out there to combine their passions with their means so that nonprofits can continue doing good work.”

If you would like to fuel lifechanging work but want to maintain your anonymity, we can help! Contact Lisa Adkins,
president/CEO, at 859.225.3343.