How to give to charity anonymously to avoid bacn

My wife’s parents, Jo and Thad, aren’t high-rollers.  But they are generous, regular, mid-level donors to a number of nonprofits (including Groundwire!).  Which is awesome.  But unfortunately, many of these organizations play a bit fast and loose with the principles of permission marketing, and as a result Jo and Thad are barraged with a never-ending stream of email and postal mail fundraising appeals, both from charities they support and ones they’ve never heard of.  As as a “nonprofit communications professional,” I know all of the the reasons for this, but what Jo and Thad know is that they’re overwhelmed by “bacn” (it’s not quite spam).  And so it was that they asked me over dinner the other night:

“Is there some way we can give anonymously to all of these groups so we don’t get on all of their mailing lists?”

After a bit of digging around, I found the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, a massive donor-advised fund system run by one of the country’s largest brokerage firms.  (Full disclosure: I’ve been a Fidelity customer for years.)  The basic deal is that you can put money into an account, take an immediate tax deduction, then instruct them to make charitable donations out of the account over time.  Donations can be anonymous or not.  There’s a 1% per year management fee, and you have to put in at least $5000 initially, although you can pay it out very gradually over time.  So, this is a great way to manage giving for anyone who’s giving at least $1000/year or more.

If you are a more occasional giver who wants to give anonymously, then you could consider:

Both of these are reputable charitable giving hubs, and you can give as much or as little as you want, anonymously or not.  The only downside: JustGive takes 3% of each donation, and Network For Good 5%, which can add up quickly.