One way to do this is to donate out of an IRA or other retirement account. However, Leonard Sloane of the Wall Street Journal cautions that you need to be careful when planning this. “So many people make mistakes with the rules,” says Andy Ives, an IRA analyst at Ed Slott & Company, a tax consulting firm. One mistake people make is making a gift to a donor-advised fund (such as the Community Foundation of the Monterey Peninsula), a private foundation or charitable-gift annuity. To obtain the tax benefit, there must be a full release of the funds directly to a charity. Another mistake is when the donor accepts something in return for the gift. You can’t even accept a tote bag, coffee mug or T-shirt as a gift! Make sure you talk to a tax advisor before implementing this strategy.