There is a harsh reality when it comes to raising funds from bequests: Very, very few of a charity’s supporters will leave a bequest to the organization. This includes loyal annual fund donors, donors with the greatest capacity, committed volunteers, and even board members. Most will just not do it! What is a gift officer to do who has metrics to meet for new legacy society participation? The answer is to be cultivating “the right donors.” And just how does a gift officer determine who are “the right donors?”
Mike is a senior consultant at PG Calc supporting our retainer and project consulting clients. Mike brings extensive gift planning and legal expertise to his consulting role at PG Calc. His experiences as a front-line gift planner and director of three active gift planning programs have taught him that the most successful planned giving programs – and planned gifts - require collaboration. Mike had broad responsibilities at all of the organizations where he has led gift planning programs, including ensuring best practices and efficiency in gift planning administration, legal compliance, stewardship of legacy circle members, multi-channel marketing efforts, and liaison among legal, investment, and custodian bank professionals.
A gift of art to charity can be a mutually rewarding gift for the charity and the donor. However, there are numerous IRS rules that must be closely followed by the donor to protect and maximize his tax benefits. While the gift planning office should always counsel the donor to obtain his own advisor in such situations, an understanding of the basic IRS rules for gifts of art can assist in the process.
The popularity of donor advised funds (DAFs) has resulted in a national movement in charitable giving. In 2017 assets in these funds reached a record $110.0 billion according to a report from the National Philanthropic Trust. This explosive growth presents a tremendous opportunity for public charities to benefit from this pool of assets. However, unlike private foundations, there are no requirements for annual distributions from DAFs. Charities expecting to maximize DAF gifts cannot sit passively by waiting for DAF grants to arrive in the mail. Those charities that implement a proactive strategy to acquire DAF gifts will develop another stream of income likely to increase over time.
It is not unusual that a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) or pooled income fund (PIF) gift made by a donor years ago no longer meets the donor’s or charity’s financial objectives. A trust donor may fear that a stock market correction will deflate trust assets and her income. Or a trust with a high payout rate may be headed toward trust assets exhausting. A charity’s pooled income fund may have only a few remaining participants and the charity desires to terminate the fund because of excessive fees.
Testamentary gifts (gifts made at death) are the most common type of planned gift, estimated to be 80% or more of planned gifts received by charities. Donors typically have to confront complicated family and financial issues in the estate planning process. Ask any gift officer who has been involved in planned gift fundraising. They can tell of donors sharing compelling stories of family addictions, marriage instability, costly medical conditions, and financial mismanagement. Donors anguish over leaving a potentially large inheritance to a family member who may lack the skills to prudently manage the inheritance. To complicate matters further, the donor is conflicted about making a final gift to a favorite charity from their estate that will divert assets away from a family member in need of financial support. A testamentary life income gift that will pay steady income to their family member for life, with the remainder going to charity when the life income gift terminates, may be the answer for such a donor. The role of the gift officer is to educate the donor about the possibilities, and if the donor has interest, to encourage a collaborative discussion with the donor’s financial and estate planning advisors.