July 30, 2015 - In This Issue:
Welcome to the Benefunder Impact Report, a bimonthly newsletter created to inform and inspire. Our mission is to help create a new marketplace for planned giving, while fueling innovation.  
Finding Your Philanthropic Style

By Christian Braemer

Cofounder & CEO, Benefunder


Throughout human history, some of the greatest advancements have been funded through good samaritans and philanthropists. Whether we're talking about the early explorers of the new world or the most advanced medical breakthroughs, philanthropy's mark has been significant, and its role in society is only increasing. Most people have a basic desire to do good and many who do describe their giving experience as fulfilling -- validating the true value of their wealth.


Today, donors expect a personalized and impactful approach to their giving, and they need someone to guide them through their charitable endeavors. Tailored philanthropy packages are being developed based on an individual donor's interests and desired level of support.  


Patronage is not necessarily how much you give, but how you give and how you match your giving with what you care about. At Benefunder we help donors give according to their personalities and values.


Below are some very high level descriptions of giving executed by some of history's greatest philanthropists, all of whom have very different giving styles.


Cosimo d' Medici, a great patron of learning, the arts and architecture, emphasized the pursuit of fundamental new ideas. He recognized the importance of fundamental intellectual inquiry and the ornamental power of individuals such as Galileo. This approach favors breakthroughs and big-picture thinking over more immediate and tangible results.


Howard Hughes aimed to reinforce philanthropy in fundamental rather than translational research by providing unrestricted funding for basic research to promising young scholars. This approach reinforces government support of foundational projects and provides an important point of distinction to the more traditional, investigator-driven grant making process. It follows more popular areas of funding, at an earlier stage, allowing researchers to experiment and change directions.  


Bill & Melinda Gates' approach provides later-stage funding in areas where traditional sources are insufficient. While governments and other sources provide low levels of funds in certain areas, Gates' funding explicitly and dramatically transformed the overall level of support in these same areas. They clearly emphasize impact-oriented, translational research that identifies and fills knowledge gaps in order to rapidly advance the field.


All of these styles represent equally important and very different approaches to solving some of society's biggest challenges. Each approach requires a unique target, strategy and timeline as a starting point. Incidentally, this is exactly what we at Benefunder are doing. We are helping donors understand their giving options and allowing them a platform to create a unique, tailored giving plan that suites their interests, style, and aspirations.


















How To Maximize Your Private Foundation Gifts
As donors seek more innovative and strategic ways to spend their charitable dollars, Donor Advised Funds are becoming an increasingly popular giving vehicle to complement private foundations.

Contrary to the belief that private foundations and DAFs are somehow mutually exclusive, there are significant benefits to implementing a strategy that uses both. In many cases, advisors have clients who have private foundations already established. This would be a perfect opportunity to utilize a combination of both a private foundation and a Donor Advised Fund, while maximizing your clients'  giving.


Below are some tips in creating the perfect giving vehicle for your client:   


Finding the right grantee and determining eligibility - For many private foundations, the process of creating RFP's, reviewing submissions, and tracking the progress of grantees is one of its most costly activities. A mission purposed Donor Advised Fund such as Benefunder significantly reduces the need for searching and determining the eligibility of grantees.


Donor anonymity - Donors who wish to make anonymous donations may do so on a grant-by-grant basis through the use of a complementary DAF.


Getting the next generation involved in philanthropy - The account holder of a Donor Advised Fund can name advisors for the fund who can make recommendations and select charities to support. This is a great way to get family members and children involved in philanthropy at a very young age while complementing the mission of the family foundation.


Tax benefits - The standard tax deduction for donations to a private foundation is 30% of the donor's Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Donors who want to receive a tax deduction beyond 30 % of their AGI can leverage a DAF to make additional cash donations up to 50 % of their AGI. As each donor's tax situation is different, please consult a tax professional.


For more information on how Benefunder can become an integral part of your practice, please contact Tom Paparatto at tpaparatto@benefunder.org.


This tip is for information purposes only and should not be considered tax advice.


Benefunder Brings Innovation & Impact to Bay Area Philanthropy
Benefunder has announced its strategic expansion into the Bay Area,  where the organization will be  introducing the first-of-its-kind,  hosted Donor Advised Fund or 'DAF' to help philanthropists fund innovation in a completely new way. Read more.

Benefunder Named 'Best Do- Gooder StartUp' by San Diego Magazine


Benefunder is honored to be included in San Diego Magazine's Best of 2015 issue. Read more.  


Social Philanthropy According to Sean Parker


Former Facebook president and Napster cofounder Sean Parker has been getting a  lot of press lately with his views on how billionaire techies can help save the world via philanthropy. He is leading a movement for like-minded, successful  innovators to inject entrepreneurial practices into traditional philanthropy.

This aligns closely with what we at Benefunder are doing -- disrupting the philanthropic landscape via innovation. Today's donors want to give where it matters and provide a lasting impact. Read more here about how the rising demand for high impact philanthropy is prompting many wealth management firms to look for new and innovative ways to engage donors.



How Social Media Affects Donor Decisions


Did you know that who you will vote for in the 2016 presidential election may be influenced more by your peers than your personal preferences?   


Social dynamics play a huge role in our decision-making process, but to what degree and how deep does this influence run?  


Dr. James Fowler at UC San Diego is studying the effects of social networks and how our peers influence our decisions and daily lives.  Fowler's research findings have been cited in numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Time, and Discover. Read more about his fascinating research here.




To learn more about our Charitable Innovation Fund, please contact Tom Paparatto at tpaparatto@benefunder.org