Planned Giving Insights and Information

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Giving USA Report Brings Good News for Gift Planners

Posted by Jeff Lydenberg on August 28, 2015

2014 was a record year for philanthropy in the United States, according to the Giving USA 2015 Annual Report.  There was a 7.1% increase in giving dollars over 2013 (5.4% adjusted for inflation).  These numbers signal the return of pre-recession giving patterns. Some experts had predicted it would take 10 years for charitable giving to rise back to pre-recession levels, so the increases are heartening. 

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Topics: estate planning, planned giving, tax incentives on charitable giving

Why myRA Won't Be the Next Big Thing in Gifts of Retirement Plan Assets

Posted by Bill Zook on March 28, 2014

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama announced his intention to make a new type of Individual Retirement Account (IRA), called a “myRA,” available to certain taxpayers.What does this mean to you in working with planned gift prospects and their advisors?

MyRAs would have of the following basic characteristics:

  • MyRAs would be created by the Treasury Department, pursuant to a presidential memorandum dated the day of the address but not actually signed until two days later, whereas existing IRAs are established under the Internal Revenue Code.
  • At least initially, myRAs would be available only to those who work for entities that agree to offer the accounts to their employees. Employers will have some incentive to do this because they would not have to make myRA contributions,
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Topics: planned giving, Retirement Accounts, IRA, gift planning, myRA

The Secret Sauce of Our Marketing Services Websites

Posted by Andrew Palmer on February 28, 2014


“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

The best-designed products, like Apple’s iPad and the Swiss army knife, are deceptively simple. Yet to arrive at the iPad interface, years of planning, development, and rejected designs contributed. For the user, it’s unfussy and easy-to-use, but there’s a lot more going on under the hood than meets the eye.

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Topics: planned giving marketing, planned giving

Giving It the Old College (Annuity) Try Doesn’t Always Succeed

Posted by Bill Zook on September 24, 2013

I learned recently of a donor who left money to charity in a manner that made it seem like she wanted to establish a so-called “college annuity” for her seven-year-old granddaughter. The applicable bequest language indicated that the annuity would begin “on or about July 30 of the year the beneficiary attains the age 19 years, and the payment shall continue for a term of 5 years.” White Paper on Managing Complexities in Gift Administration - Download now!

If perhaps you’re not familiar with the college annuity, it’s a deferred charitable gift annuity established for the life of a young child, with the deferral period ending – and payments beginning – when the child is age 18 or 19. Shortly after the annuity is established, the child’s guardian (usually a parent) exercises a right explicitly reserved in the gift annuity agreement to commute the lifetime payments into a stream of payments made over the course of only four or five years. Because the present value of the lifetime payments must equal the present value of the commuted payments at the time the commutation provision is exercised, each commuted payment is quite a bit larger than each lifetime payment would have been.

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Topics: charitable gift annuities, gift annuities, working with advisors, college annuity, charitable gift annuity, gift annuity agreements, planned giving

Creating Strong Board Leadership for Planned Giving

Posted by Jeff Lydenberg on April 17, 2012
The governing board of a non-profit organization has broad responsibilities that include overseeing finances, insuring the organization has sufficient resources, strategic organizational planning, choosing the chief executive, and compliance with legal and accounting requirements. 

Development staff typically has minimal input in the selection of board members and limited direct access to board members. A development or fundraising committee of the board is the usual point of contact for development staff with the board.  You need to make the most of the access that you do have and leverage that access to your best advantage. 

 The objectives of your governing board in planned giving fundraising include:

  •  Lead by example

Every board member should be expected to complete a planned gift with your organization.  This shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that there is a price tag for serving on your board.  Any planned gift should count.  A revocable will provision, a beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy or a payable on death bank account (even a modest percentage) is fine.  The key is that everyone participates at a level that is comfortable for them.  No one has to part with current assets.

  •  Create a culture that values planned gifts 

The board is responsible for setting the policies of your organization.  They can support efforts to raise more planned gifts by adopting generously inclusive policies that acknowledge both revocable and irrevocable deferred gifts.

  • Adopt sensible planned giving policies

Policies as to what planned gifts your organization will offer and acceptable assets create a road map for what your planned giving program will look like.  Reasonable limits on gift amounts, ages, payout rates and other gift criteria can insure that the gifts that you accept are appropriate for donors and valuable to your institution.  The development committee of the board in consultation with development staff and a planned giving advisory committee can recommend policies that protect your charity and encourage attractive gifts for your donors. 

  •  Communicate with the rest of the Board

Meetings of the full board are a forum for discussing ideas and the decision-making that is the cornerstone of a board’s responsibilities.  However, the research, due diligence, compliance and oversight work that a board does is accomplished through its committees and task forces. Most boards have standing committees created for a specific purpose.  While fundraising is a full board responsibility, a standing development committee is an effective way to have a voice for the fundraising function with your charity’s policy makers.

Ideally, the chief development officer (that is the most senior executive charged with fundraising responsibilities) will be a member, at least ex-officio, of the development committee of the board.  Conversely, at least one member of the board’s development committee should serve on your planned giving advisory committee. 

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Topics: planned giving, planned giving leadership, board of directors

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