What Is Strategic Giving?


While you often hear about strategic philanthropy in the context of corporations doing cause marketing and aligning their brand with charitable causes, strategic philanthropy can also take place on a personal level. So what is it? How do you do it? What are the benefits? And who do you talk to?

Tina Tehranchian, senior wealth advisor at Assante Capital Management Company and St. Michael’s Foundation volunteer, answers your questions.

What is strategic giving?

Strategic philanthropy consists of creative, tax-smart and well-informed giving strategies. It is about deciding on where and how to channel your philanthropy to maximize a return on your investment. It means having a long- term vision and approaching philanthropy as a long-term investment in causes that can produce the kind of impact that is meaningful to you and your family.

What do I need to consider?

Think like an investor. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

– What causes am I most passionate about, and what kind of impact do I want to have?
– How many causes do I want to support each year?
– What should my annual donation budget be?
– How–and for how long–do I want to be involved in the organization? Do I want to give just my treasure, or also my time and talent?
–Do I want to be anonymous or recognized for my donation?

How can I give strategically? 

There are many ways to give strategically that will allow you to take advantage of tax incentives for making charitable donations, which can multiply the amount of donations you can make during your lifetime as well as your bequests.

For example, gifts of securities from non-registered accounts are a cost-effective opportunity to make an investment in your cause of choice. By donating appreciated shares, mutual funds or stock options, donors pay no tax on the capital gains, receive a tax receipt for the fair market value of the securities and reduce their taxes. LEARN MORE.

You can also give a gift of a life insurance policy, or RRSPs and RRIFs.

Or remember your charity of choice in your will. You can retain control of your assets during your lifetime and significantly reduce estate tax by choosing a specific gift amount, or contributing all or a percentage of your estate’s assets. Speak to a lawyer about drafting a will or adding a codicil to an existing will. LEARN MORE.

Another extremely effective strategy to maximize your impact and reduce your taxes is setting up a charitable trust; your legal and financial consultants can advise you on the benefits for your situation.

Finally, talk to a financial planner who specializes in charitable tax planning to explore your best options for converting your taxes to charitable donations, so you can meet both your philanthropic and your personal goals.

What are the benefits of giving strategically?

Not only are there great tax incentives (see above), but you get to define the social impact that is most meaningful to you. Remember, when you look up the meaning of philanthropy in the dictionary, you'll see it's defined as goodwill to fellow members of the human race, especially the active effort to promote human welfare. That’s a huge ripple effect.

My passion is healthcare, and I want to support St. Michael’s Hospital and/or Providence Healthcare. Where can I learn more and who can I talk to?

Thank you! You can visit, which has lots of information and handy resources on ways to support our hospitals. You can also contact the Foundation’s Associate Vice-President, Transformational and Principal Gifts, Justyna Jonca or the Foundation's Associate Vice-President, Major and Leadership Gifts, Ashley Downey. They’d be delighted to talk to you.

Tina Tehranchian is a senior wealth advisor with Assante Capital Management Ltd. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Assante Capital Management Ltd. Please contact her at 905-707-5220 or visit to discuss your particular circumstances prior to acting on the information above. Assante Capital Management Ltd. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. 

Donate to St. Michael's Foundation.

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