Wesley Sebacher, CFP®

Charitable giving and philanthropy provide physicians with an opportunity to make a significant impact on their communities and the world at large. As medical professionals, you possess unique skills and resources that can be leveraged to improve healthcare access, research, education, and various other humanitarian causes. Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or medical student, this guide will walk you through the process of engaging in charitable giving and philanthropy, including how to choose causes, methods of giving, tax implications, and best practices for maximizing your impact. 

Defining Your Philanthropic Goals

Before you begin giving, it’s essential to identify your philanthropic objectives and areas of passion. You may begin by asking yourself, what causes or issues matter most to you? Do you want to make a local or global impact? Are you interested in supporting healthcare initiatives or broader societal issues? What level of involvement do you desire, one-time donations or ongoing engagement? Any number of questions will allow you to narrow in on specific goals and establish a clear path for philanthropy. 

Selecting a Cause

As a physician, you may naturally gravitate toward healthcare-related initiatives. These interests can extend to a variety of areas within healthcare, such as medical research, access to healthcare, medical education, etc. Beyond the scope of healthcare, there are a myriad of initiatives that a non-healthcare related or a hybrid of causes. Non-healthcare related initiatives can include such initiatives as community involvement, allowing you to support local charities and non-profit organizations addressing a variety of societal issues. A hybrid initiative can include focuses such as environmental issues, which can participate in efforts to promote environmental sustainability. These efforts can indirectly affect public health and provide healthcare benefits in addition to environmental benefits. 

Researching Organizations

Once you’ve identified your philanthropic goals and initiatives, you can begin researching potential organizations to support. There are a variety of factors to consider when selecting an organization, such as financial transparency, charitable impact, alignment with core values, and overall accountability. There are many resources available to those charitably inclined to evaluate these factors efficiently, along with working with a knowledgeable professional experienced in charitable giving for physicians.  

Charitable Giving Options and Vehicles

As a physician, you will have various options for charitable giving and vehicles to efficiently donate or take advantage of tax benefits. Giving options can include direct donations to an organization, which can include one-time or recurring contribution and gifting of cash or securities. Outside of directly donating to an organization, a foundation can be established to support your chosen initiatives or donor-advised funds can offer a convenient way to gift and take advantage of tax strategies, such as charitable bunching. In-Kind donations allow you to donate medical supplies, equipment, or services to healthcare institutions. Volunteering allows you to offer your medical expertise by volunteering your time and skills to charitable organizations. Planned giving includes gifting as part of your estate plan through bequests, trusts, or wills.  

Financial Planning and Tax Benefits

When charitable giving, it is essential to understand the financial planning opportunities and tax benefits you are eligible for. Understanding the tax planning strategies, tax deductions, and other incentives associated with charitable giving and philanthropy will allow you the opportunity to provide impactful benefits to the causes you are passionate about whilst providing financial benefits to you. Consider consulting with a qualified fiduciary to ensure you are maximizing these financial benefits and your philanthropic efforts. 

Maximizing Your Charitable Impact

To make the most out of your philanthropic goals, consider partnering with other healthcare professionals, organizations, or institutions to amplify your charitable impact. You can leverage your medical expertise to make informed charitable giving decisions and contribute your expertise to organizations in need. Volunteering your expertise is a form of active participation, you can also pursue board engagement by serving on non-profit boards to provide guidance and expertise. Throughout your philanthropic journey, consider periodically assessing the effectiveness of your giving and make adjustments as needed. As a physician engaged in philanthropy, you can inspire others to follow your example by sharing your experiences and the impact of your giving to encourage involvement.  


Charitable giving and philanthropy can provide physicians with a powerful means of extending their impact beyond their medical practice. By following the various steps discussed, you can make a meaningful and lasting difference while aligning your charitable giving with your passions and values. With proper planning, you can begin to maximize the impact of your charitable contributions, make use of tax benefits, and inspire others to create positive change. 

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