January 31, 2024

Welcome to MCF's Advisor Blog! 

Fingers adding a wood letter "g" to the word "blog"

As a trusted advisor to your clients, you play a critical role in connecting them with resources to support their financial, tax, and estate planning goals. Many times, these goals include lifetime or legacy giving.

MCF recognizes that helping your clients develop a charitable plan can be extremely rewarding. We also recognize that developing a charitable plan may require in-depth discussions with your clients to help them identify their values, passions, interests and giving goals. MCF specializes in guiding these discussions with prospective donors and fundholders and has resources available to help you and your clients develop a charitable plan that brings joy during their lifetime and honors the legacy they wish to leave.

We can support you and your clients in whatever way works best – by attending meetings you schedule, hosting meetings at our offices or providing materials. Working together can be invaluable in aligning your client’s interests with specific giving opportunities and charitable tools in the context of their overall estate, financial or tax plan.

We have created this advisor blog to highlight articles and resources you may find useful as you discuss charitable giving with your clients, and to share information on how we work with donors and fundholders to achieve their giving goals.

To kick things off, we wanted to answer the most frequent questions we receive from advisors:

1. What expertise does MCF offer to advisors and their clients?

MCF has been helping people and organizations in Greater Madison provide permanent and sustainable support to causes and organizations that are meaningful to them since 1942. This has given us a deep knowledge of our community and the opportunities available to support local nonprofit organizations. We bring this knowledge to our discussions with you and your clients and use it to help your clients identify specific organizations and causes they would like to support.

While we focus primarily on giving in the Greater Madison area, we also work with prospective donors and fundholders to identify giving opportunities at organizations with a regional, national or international focus.

2. If I refer a client to MCF, how will MCF work with them on their charitable giving plan?

At MCF, we customize our conversations to each individual. Some people have a clear vision for their giving, and our conversations with them center on helping them determine which organizations they would like to support, what form that support will take and when (e.g., a gift to a donor advised fund, a gift to a field of interest fund, outright gifts to their chosen charities, an estate gift to create a family legacy, or a combination of gift types and timelines).

Other people know that charitable giving is important to them, but need additional help determining how they would like to make a difference and what causes and organizations most closely align with their values and goals. These conversations typically begin with an in-depth discussion of values and life experiences that have been meaningful and the impact these have on their ideas for giving. These conversations are often very valuable in helping people clarify and prioritize what is important to them, what change they would like to support, and to establish goals for their giving.

Once someone has identified their goals, we then help to identify giving opportunities that may achieve those goals. After we’ve explored the “why” and “what” of giving, we also help people consider the “how” – tools they may want to consider, along with their advisors, to achieve efficient, tax-smart, and sometimes intergenerational, philanthropy.

3. How complicated is giving through MCF?

We recognize that estate planning, financial planning and tax planning already involve a great deal of complexity. For this reason, we try to make giving through MCF as simple as possible:

  • Opening a donor advised or designated fund involves signing a fund agreement and making a gift.
  • When planning to make an estate gift, we invite donors to complete a revocable statement of intent or custom letter of understanding outlining directions for the use of their gift and if and how they would like to be recognized. (You can view our planned giving statement of intent here.)
  • Donors who want to establish a charitable gift annuity with MCF are asked to provide us with some basic information (age, desired beneficiary, gift amount, etc.) that we use to prepare a calculation of the charitable donation amount, annuity payments and associated tax treatment. If the donor would like to move forward, we ask them to sign a charitable gift annuity agreement.

4. What types of gifts can MCF accept?

MCF accepts a wide variety of cash and non-cash gifts, allowing your clients to integrate their giving into their overall financial plan. While MCF works diligently to process gifts when we receive them, the total time required to complete the transfer varies depending on the type of assets gifted:

  • Cash gifts made by check or wire transfer typically require a few days to complete.
  • Gifts of publicly traded stock and mutual fund shares typically take two to four weeks to complete, depending on the time required by the brokerage house or fund custodian to complete its portion of the transfer process.
  • Proposed gifts of closely held stock, personal property and real property are evaluated individually and require us to perform additional due diligence. As a result, it may take several months to process these.

5. I’d like to have a conversation with my client about charitable giving options. How do I get started?

Alison Helland, Director of Donor and Advisor Engagement, will be happy to assist you or refer you to another member of our Donor Engagement team who can serve as a resource for your specific situation. You can reach Alison via e-mail at ahelland@madisongives.org or via phone at (608) 446-5937.

Help Your Client Learn About Where to Give