Planned Giving Insights and Information

The Importance of Your Brand

Posted by Ann McPherson

February 17, 2015


Joshua Bell released a new Bach recording recently, which had me a bit perplexed. There is nothing new about Bach. Why would anyone want to buy this CD, since there are so many Bach recordings already in existence? But Bell has his own “brand,” and people will buy this recording just because he has a following and his interpretation of Bach’s music is sure to be different from his peers.
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Topics: planned giving marketing, marketing corner

The Scent of Conversion

Posted by Larry Kerstein

February 9, 2015


The latest trend in planned giving communications is something called “donor-focused design,” an approach that places the donor at the center of the design process. The concept is based on the presumption that an organization’s communications will be more effective and will resonate more with donors if they reflect the needs, objectives, and in particular, language of those donors. 

Interestingly, this concept is completely in line with a philosophy of website design that the best practitioners have followed for some time. The most effective websites are designed using the results of research into user experience (UX), including areas such as eye scanning, and information tracking.

As early as 2001, research done by Dr. Ed Chi, who at the time was Principal Scientist for Augmented Social Cognition, as well as others at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), indicated that humans track information in a fashion similar to the way that animals follow a scent. 

                                       People... engage in what [Dr. Ed Chi] calls ‘hub-and-spoke’ surfing: They begin at the center, and they follow a trail based on its information scent.... If the scent is sufficiently strong, the surfer will continue to go on that trail. But if the trail is weak, they go back to the hub. ‘People repeat this process until they're satisfied,’ Chi said.                                     

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Topics: planned giving marketing, inbound marketing

IRA Charitable Rollover Once Again Vanishes into Thin Air

Posted by Bill Zook

January 20, 2015


If you so much as blinked, you missed it. Only during the last two weeks of 2014 was a charity able to tell eligible donors with certainty that they could make “qualified charitable distributions” from their traditional or Roth IRAs before the end of the year.

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Topics: IRA Charitable Rollover

Dos and Don’ts with 1099-Rs

Posted by Alison O'Carroll

January 20, 2015


It’s tax season, and there are some dos and don’ts you should be aware of as you prepare your donors’ 1099-Rs.

DO mail a 1099-R to your gift annuitants so it is received by them on or before Monday, February 2, 2015 (January 31 is usually the deadline but we get a few more days because it’s a Saturday this year).

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Topics: 1099-R

One More “To Do” Item - Gift Annuity Annual Reporting

Posted by Edie Matulka

January 14, 2015


If your organization is registered to issue gift annuities in New York, be sure that completion of the Annual Statement form (due March 1) is on your “to do” list. Unlike many states, where the filing is based on fiscal year end, the NY deadline is the same for all organizations. If you haven’t already done so, the 2014 form is available for download on the New York state website. One notable change this year: the reserve listing, which includes information on all annuities, must be filed in PDF form by all organizations (and also in Excel form for NY-based charities), but no longer needs to be filed in hard copy.

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Topics: gift annuities, annuity reserves

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