International granting: 7 answers to questions you didn’t know you had

NCF givers have been giving to causes all around the world for years, through charities with offices in the U.S. But what if you wanted to give to a charity based in Guatemala or to a missionary team or church based in Malawi, Lebanon … or India? International granting directly to an overseas charity is possible, too, through our collaboration with TrustBridge Global.

Trust Bridge meets daily with donors and charities from countries all over the world, even when we’re not traveling. Working with a network of foundations on six continents, we’re blessed to meet people from many different countries. We’re accustomed to a global mindset.

Many of the givers we meet share this mindset and have questions about international granting. You may too. While giving to a U.S.-based charity doing work overseas might seem the easiest solution for givers, many don’t realize that giving directly to the charity is also a viable option.

If you’re new to international granting, here are seven answers to questions you may not have thought to ask about the who, what, when, where, how, and why of this exciting and growing area of philanthropy.

1. What is international granting?

Many people have experience with a domestic donor-advised fund (like NCF’s Giving Fund) and are already familiar with the model that TrustBridge offers internationally. While it’s only one method of international granting, a donor‐advised fund (DAF) provides givers with a centralized charitable account. It allows them to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants from the fund over time. In this way, a donor-advised fund acts like a charitable checking account. International givers contribute to their funds via cash, cash equivalents, securities, or other assets, even crypto-currencies, as frequently as they like and then recommend grants to qualifying charities of their choice.

Those who already have a Giving Fund can recommend a grant to TrustBridge Global Foundation, indicate the amount, and then specify in the instructions where they would like the money to go internationally. We work together with NCF to get the money to the charity you recommend.

In the face of a variety of legal systems and complex regulations like AML (anti-money-laundering) or SDN (specially designated nationals), we do the hard work of reviewing grant recommendations to ensure that each is in accordance with donor‐advised fund guidelines, local charity rules, and the overall purpose of the sponsoring organization. Once approved, the funds are normally paid electronically directly into the charity’s bank account.

2. How can I get a new international charity registered?

Before making an international grant, you should check with TrustBridge to find out if your charity is already registered to receive international grants. If it is registered, you can simply recommend your grant to them in the instructions you provide in NCF’s online giving platform.

If they’re not registered, you will need to contact us and connect us with the key person at the charity. NCF can help you connect with TrustBridge. Then we will undertake due diligence on the charity to determine if they can be approved for a charity fund. There is a charity application assessment of 150 Swiss Francs, which is about $150. As the first giver you may offer to pay this assessment on behalf of the charity.

3. Who can give?

One of the most exciting aspects of granting through a DAF is the fact that it allows all givers to engage in activities previously associated only with ultra-high-net-worth individuals. International granting is no different in this respect. Our assessment model is structured to make sense for any giver wishing to make an initial contribution of $10,000 or more.

4. Why give internationally?

Because global giving has traditionally been difficult and expensive, the flow of giving is a mere trickle, compared to what it could be. We believe that radically improving cross-border giving will change the world by allowing more resources to flow to the areas of the world that need it the most. By working through our large network of global members, we can efficiently and effectively move resources around the world.

It’s important, though, to recognize Trustbridge isn’t simply a banking platform. Our members serve business owners and families in their local communities, helping with their giving, nurturing their journey of generosity, and developing community and collaboration – ultimately growing the volume of giving. And as we grow global generosity, life change happens – for givers, the charities they support, and the people they serve.

5. When is the right time to make an international grant?

Anytime is good. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that international grantmaking is not only about making international grants. There’s an increasing demographic of givers who choose to use the funds allocated to the donor-advised platform to make loans or investments in private companies, venture funds, or nonprofits working toward achieving spiritual and social, as well as financial impact. This impact investing allows these funds to be fully utilized, even before they are made available as grants to qualifying charities.

6. Where can I give internationally?

We’re working to build a truly global charitable platform to facilitate fast, efficient, and easy giving and mission-related investing. Our growing network of like-minded charities and foundations are in countries all over the world.

You can send a grant to any country that is not listed on the U.S. sanctioned-countries list. We’d love to send to a new country we have not sent to before.

7. How do I get started?

Since starting in 2017, we’ve given more than 1,100 grants, valuing $90M to 70 countries on six continents and have received even more in contributions that can be invested and grown prior to granting.

Our team of bankers, tax specialists, legal experts, and philanthropy advisors provide an exceptional group of experienced professionals who bring together world-class expertise in finance and cross-border giving. We continue to pursue strategic partnerships with leading global banks and technology providers to deliver a seamless, end-to-end solution for you.

We look forward to hearing how we can help you manage and deploy your charitable giving to all corners of the world.

Contact your local NCF team, and they will connect you with us at TrustBridge.

Photo: Capturing the human heart on Unsplash

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