Donation Options

Become a Donor

Your support makes the difference! San Diego Opera exists today because of the generosity of our loyal fans and generous donors. Did you know that ticket sales only cover about a third of the production costs for each opera? Donations help create and sustain opera by bridging the gap between those ticket sales and the true expenses required to produce the experience we all love. In addition, your donation supports the myriad community outreach and education programs we provide throughout the San Diego area. Giving also provides you opportunities to enjoy opera at different levels of participation, with special events, perks, and privileges.

  • San Diego Opera provides a variety of ways for you to support, from monetary gifts to donations of property, and from corporate sponsorship to legacy gifts.
  • Memberships — Beginning at $100, members can enjoy priority ticket upgrades, public acknowledgment, invitations to private events, and more.
  • Legacy Giving — Gifts from wills, trusts and retirement accounts sustain the future of opera in San Diego and provide an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy.
  • Opera Unites — Support free community events, accessible education programming, and Student Night at the Opera. Your gift allows SDO to continue uniting our communities with the expressive power of the human voice.
  • Corporate Support — Your company can support SDO’s work on stage and in the community while receiving recognition and benefits.
  • Volunteer — Learn how you can join our team!

If you have questions about supporting San Diego Opera or would like to discuss ways to give, please contact the Development Department at 619-232-7636 or email

Legacy Gifts

Legacy gifts are simple and flexible to support you in how you want to give.

The most common form of planned gift is a bequest from a Will or Trust:

  • Bequests may be a fixed amount (ex: $10,000), a percentage (such as 10%), or a remainder after all other specific bequests have been distributed.
  • Specific property such as residential real estate may also be used in a charitable bequest.
  • Sample language to add a bequest to a Will or Trust: “I/We give and bequeath $xxx,xxx (or ___% of my/our estate) to San Diego Opera Association, a California nonprofit corporation, TIN# 95-6044429.”

Planned Gifts may offer significant tax advantages to you or your heirs.

Some legacy gift options with tax benefits:

Avoiding taxes by utilizing your IRA

  • Make a “Tax Free” gift from your required minimum distribution (RMD). The gift amount will meet RMD requirements, but will not be reported as taxable income, regardless of your tax bracket.
  • Help your heirs avoid taxes! When deciding which assets to leave to heirs and which assets to leave to charity, choose to make bequests to SDO from retirement plans such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Retirement plan gifts are taxable to heirs, but not to charities.

Donate appreciated assets

  • Gifting shares of stock or a business allows you to avoid capital gains tax when the assets are sold.
  • Request a stock transfer form.

Life Insurance: An asset you no longer need can make a wonderful gift to SDO

  • Many people hold paid-up life insurance policies that they no longer need to protect their family.
  • Ownership may be transferred to SDO, who will utilize the value to support our ongoing programs.
  • Receive an income tax deduction equal to the cash surrender value of the policy.

Make a gift and receive an income today

  • Some planned gifts even offer a way to increase your income while receiving a charitable deduction! Email us for more information on Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Gift Annuities or any of the options above.
This information is not intended as tax or legal advice. A thoughtful examination and conversation with your advisors should help ensure that you make the best choice for your legacy-giving based on your specific circumstances.


Other Ways to Give

Charitable gifts from retirement accounts

  • The IRS requires that all taxpayers begin taking minimum distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) in the year they turn 72. This is known as the required minimum distribution, or RMD.
  • RMDs are treated as taxable income, and in some cases may put a recipient into a higher tax bracket, with one exception: people who gift their RMDs directly to charity make this gift completely tax-free!
  • Even donors who won’t be itemizing their deductions may take advantage of this tax-wise way to give.

What to know about RMD gifts from your IRA
Also known as the Charitable IRA Rollover, RMD gifts are easy to make – just know these simple rules:

  • Funds must come from a traditional IRA account, Inherited IRA, SIMPLE IRA (inactive) or an inactive Simplified Employee Pension IRA (SEP-IRA).
  • Your gift must go directly to the charity – if you cash it out first, you will have to pay the tax and then claim a charitable deduction (if itemizing).
  • Your IRA administrator can process the transfer for you.
  • The maximum contribution is $100,000.
  • The gift will not be reported as taxable income, but will count for the required minimum distribution.

Retirement accounts also make excellent legacy gifts

  • Unlike other assets, retirement accounts do not pass to beneficiaries tax-free. Recipients will pay income tax on all distributions. New laws passed in late 2019 requires the distribution of funds in an inherited IRA within 10-years which could mean an even higher tax bill for your heirs.
  • The one exception: charitable beneficiaries!
  • A bequest for an IRA is one of the easiest planned gifts to set up: all it takes is a simple change of beneficiary form. Your IRA administrator can provide that form or direct to you an online version to complete.
  • Note, retirement fund bequests must be for a percentage, rather than a fixed amount.

For more information on any of the options above, contact the SDO Development Department
619-232-7636 or email

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