Donate your RMD from your retirement account

Donate your RMD from your retirement account

According to IRS regulations, if you will be 72 years old by the end of the year, you must take a minimum withdrawal from your retirement accounts - including traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457(b)s, profit sharing and other defined contribution plans. The formula for calculating the amount required to be withdrawn is complicated, so it’s best to discuss this with your financial advisor or with a representative of the custodian of your account. The AARP also has a very useful section of their website devoted to this issue.*

When you write a check or have funds electronically transferred directly from your traditional IRA, inherited IRA, inactive Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan or inactive Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRAs to a qualified charity, you don’t have to pay a penny in taxes on the full amount of your donation. [Note: Rules for making charitable donations from other types of retirement accounts, including 401ks and 403bs, vary. Contact your account custodian or advisor for specific rules for your plan.] 

Aside from the direct charitable benefit, there are at least three other positive side effects to consider.

  1. Making charitable contributions can help donors avoid being pushed into a higher tax bracket - since withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income. Be sure to note that it is a minimum requirement and you can actually make any size donations and save yourself several hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. This is worth discussing with your accountant or CPA.
  2. Individuals who inherit accounts with stocks for companies whose values they do not support (for example fossil fuel stocks or defense contractors) can take a distinct pleasure in donating the proceeds from selling these holdings to non-profits that mean so much to them and share their values.
  3. Some donors choose to discuss their charitable contributions with children, grandchildren or other youngsters in your life. This is an opportunity to transmit your values to the next generation.

We hope you'll consider donating your RMD to the RFC, now or in the future. If you decide to donate in this manner and need additional information to process the contribution, feel free to contact the RFC at


*These three AARP links will provide you with lots of useful information, including their RMD calculator, an overview "Know the Rules for Taking RMDs from Your Retirement Savings", and a Q and A about Individual Retirement Accounts, RMDs and more. 

Note: this information is adapted from a fall 2023 guest blog by Christina Platt. Christina Platt has been an RFC board member for ten years and is currently the Board Co-Chair. Before that, she was the RFC’s socially responsible (SRI) investment advisor. Now referred to as ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing, advisors work with clients to generate returns