Making a Plan: Planned Giving with United Way



Investing in the future of our community through United Way of Greater Portland helps to ensure a thriving future and a legacy of hope. You can be a part of shaping that future by making a Planned Gift.

A Planned Gift is any major gift, made in lifetime or at death, as part of a donor’s overall financial and/or estate planning. These include gifts of equity, life insurance, real estate, personal property, or cash. Planned Giving allows you to meet your personal, financial, and philanthropic goals in tax-efficient, estate-friendly ways. Wherever you are in your career and your life, there is a Planned Giving option for you!

Individuals and households can contribute a Planned Giving gift through a variety of paths, many of which provide immediate tax advantages, long-term stability to both you and United Way, and can be combined within an estate plan.

Below you will find insights into a few different Planned Giving options. Of course, there are many ways in which to make a Planned Gift, based around your long-term philanthropic goals and objectives. We encourage you to consult with your financial advisor about what options might be best for you. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Matt Wolcott at

Please note, United Way of Greater Portland does not provide suggested guidance, we encourage you to talk with your financial advisor to best determine the Planned Giving options that might be best for your situation.

Planned Giving Options  

Donor-Advised Funds 

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) are charitable investment accounts.

They allow you to invest cash, securities, or other assets intended for charitable distribution. Your contribution to the DAF often is eligible for an immediate tax deduction, and the funds within the DAF can be invested for tax-free growth.

DAFs are the fastest-growing charitable giving vehicle in the United States, because they are easy, convenient, and one of the most tax-advantageous ways you can give.

You provide the direction over the allocation of your assets and have flexibility regarding where and when you make your donations. Your donation can potentially grow, which makes your money stretch further, and you can support your charities of choice now or over time.

Wills and Bequests 

A charitable bequest is an official statement in a will, a trust, or an estate plan, that designates a gift to a specific charity.

Bequests are one of the easiest and most flexible ways you can leave a gift to United Way of Greater Portland. You can plan for the allocation of your estate while maintaining complete control of your assets in the present, and you can change your mind at any time.

You can make a bequest in several ways: 

  • Percentage bequest- make a gift of a percentage of your estate
  • Specific bequest- make a gift of a specific dollar amount or a specific asset
  • Residual bequest- make a gift from the balance or residue of your estate

You can include language in your will or trust specifying a gift to be made to family, friends, or a charity as part of your estate plans. Your attorney can help you, or you can go to to create a will on your own.

Beneficiary Designations 

A great way to support United Way of Greater Portland without affecting your budget!

Simply name United Way as the beneficiary of one of your assets, such as:  

  • IRAs, 401ks, or other retirement plans 
  • Life insurance policy 
  • Commercial annuity 

You can also decide what percentage you would like the charity to receive as a beneficiary. This means you can divide your retirement plans or insurance policies between family, friends, and charities of your choosing.

Designating United Way of Greater Portland as the beneficiary of a retirement account, life insurance policy or annuity can also reduce estate taxes.

Gifts That Produce Income 

When you are looking for ways to support United Way of Greater Portland, you shouldn’t feel like you are choosing between your philanthropic goals and financial security. There are several ways to support United Way, while receiving income payments and immediate tax benefits.

Some examples are: 

  • Charitable Gift Annuity – You transfer your cash or appreciated property to a charity in exchange for their promise to pay you fixed income (with rates based on age) for the rest of your life. At your death, the charity keeps the remaining assets.
  • Charitable Unitrust – You transfer your cash or appreciated property to fund a charitable trust. The trust sells your property without paying any immediate tax on the sale, allowing the trust to reinvest 100% of the sale proceeds for your benefit, rather than only the after-tax amount. The trust provides you for life, or a term of years, with income that may grow as the trust assets grow.
  • Charitable Annuity Trust – You transfer your cash or appreciated property to fund a charitable trust. The trust sells your property without paying any immediate tax on the sale, allowing the trust to reinvest 100% of the sale proceeds for your benefit, rather than only the after-tax amount. The trust provides you with income (stated as a fixed annual amount) for life, or a term of years.

IRA Rollover 

The IRS mandates that you begin your Required Minimal Distribution (RMDs) of your IRA after a certain age. This increases your taxable income and may push you into a higher tax bracket. Plus, RMDs get higher year after year, which means your taxable income, and possibly your tax bracket, increases year after year too!

However, the IRS also allows individuals to transfer up to $100,000 from their IRAs to a recognized charity of their choice. Couples can contribute $200,000.

Care is needed, though: the contribution must go directly to the charity and not first to the IRA owner, or else the owner is taxed on the distribution. Always speak to your tax advisor when thinking about an IRA charitable rollover.

There are several benefits to supporting United Way of Greater Portland through an IRA rollover: 

  • Your gift will not be counted as income, so you will pay no income tax on the RMD.
  • The IRS will consider your RMD distribution fulfilled.
  • You may save thousands in higher taxes by avoiding a higher tax bracket.
  • The receiving charity will not pay taxes on the donation either, maximizing your contribution amount.

Assets That Make Great Gifts  

Whether as part of your estate or part of your annual financial plans, there are many asset classes that serve as wonderful gifts to support United Way of Greater Portland. If you are interested in gifting any of the below, please reach out to UWGP to discuss the process and specifics of your gift.  

These include: 

  • Stocks and Bonds - Donating appreciated securities, including stocks and bonds, is an easy and tax-effective way to make a gift. 
  • Real Estate - Donating appreciated real estate, such as a home, vacation property, undeveloped land, farmland, ranch or commercial property, can make a generous and convenient gift.
  • Retirement Assets- Designating to UWGP part or all of your retirement assets, such as a gift from your IRA, 401(k), 403(b), 457, pension, or other tax-deferred plan, is an excellent way to make a gift.
  • Cash  Donating cash is a simple and easy way to support a charity of your choice.
  • Insurance – A gift of a life insurance policy can be a wonderful way to support your charity. If you have a life insurance policy that has outlasted its original purpose, consider making a gift of the policy. For example, if you took out a policy to provide for young children, but they are now financially independent adults.

Planned Giving is for anyone, at any stage in their life. It is a wonderful way to support our community through United Way of Greater Portland, often in ways that have minimal impact on your daily budget, but long-standing effects on a thriving future for everyone.