Ah, For Those Lazy, Hazy Days Of Summer!
We’re at that point in the year when the kids are finally out of school, the fiscal year has ended for many, and we’re all more than halfway through the calendar year. The weather is finally nice, we’re taking our summer vacations, and in general, we’re starting to enjoy a slightly less hectic pace of living. But truth be told, summers aren’t as quiet as they used to be. Families don’t just pack up and head “down the shore” or “down the Cape” for the entire months of July and August. Colleges and even many primary and secondary schools now begin the “fall” sessions in the middle of August – or even earlier. And no one ever really disconnects and gets away from it all anymore, because we have our cell phones and our tablets and all of our 21st century accoutrements with us at all times.
Assess and Reflect
Having said that, these short few months can still afford us some time to slow down and take pause, smell the roses, and think about where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. For gift planning professionals, it can be a good time to assess and reflect on the fundraising efforts in the first half of the calendar year. For most, July and August likely won’t include many serious exchanges with potential donors, but certainly, there will be grand expectations for the remaining months of September through December.
How have your endeavors played out thus far in 2019? Are you encountering generally less interest in split-interest gift arrangements this year, compared to previous years – or more? Do you think the Tax Act of 2017 has affected your ability to close the kinds of gifts you have been closing in recent years? And, in particular, do you think you are working harder to close gifts because of the diminished utilization of the charitable income tax deduction? If so, is there a way to offset that dynamic?
Most importantly, what do you think is the best use of your time and energy in the coming months? Even with all the current hullabaloo in Washington, and the collective preoccupation with national elections in 2020, we suspect that most of your potential donors are more concerned about their personal situations and the values of their assets right now. These loyal supporters of your organization likely are most interested in the potential benefits – tax-wise and otherwise – they can expect to derive from outright gifts and split-interest gifts executed by December 31 of this year.
Be Strategic and Creative
Perhaps now really is a good time to think about how you can do things differently in the fall, and possibly, how you can do different things, to pique and sustain the interest of your donor base. One of the reasons planned giving is such a wonderful and fascinating area in which to work is because we are always looking for better charitable gift solutions that provide substantial benefit both to the donor and the charitable organization. We can take advantage of a relatively slower time of year to think seriously about ways to continue achieving the best outcomes for both sides of the equation. So, turn off the cell phone for a while, have a glass of lemonade and take a little time to reflect on the bigger picture. This slow time passes rather quickly.
We at PG Calc wish you all a happy and fruitful summer!