The Republican leadership on Wednesday September 27, 2017 released a framework for proposed tax reforms for consideration by Congress. While the framework proposes retaining the income tax charitable deduction, it also proposes nearly doubling the standard deduction. Reducing the number of itemizers arguably reduces charitable contributions without the incentive of itemized charitable gifts. Nonetheless, giving is motivated by more than just tax incentives. It remains to be seen how decreasing the number of itemizers might affect charitable giving.
How do you evaluate your marketing program? Well, it depends. There are many things to consider, and because there is no “right” way, it's not as straightforward as you might think. One characteristic to consider is the age of your program. Is it in its beginning stages, is it a mature program around for decades, or is it somewhere in between? The age and size of your planned giving program is a material factor when you measure and evaluate the results of your planned giving marketing.
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I believe it was Pablo Picasso who said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Many other writers and composers have been quoted saying something similar. Great ideas are never born, they are just reinvented. This is true of most things, and marketing, especially for planned giving, is no exception. As soon as someone discovers a “new idea,” there is no reason not to imitate it to see if it will produce the desired results.
A 70 year-old wants to fund a 5% charitable remainder unitrust with $500,000. If he receives payments for the rest of his life, he gets a charitable deduction of $261,815. On the other hand, if he chooses to receive payments for exactly his life expectancy of 14.2 years, he gets a deduction of $244,060. Strange. Why aren’t the two numbers the same?
How do you respond to a request by one of your organization’s strongest supporters for a two-life charitable gift annuity for him and his wife when you know that his wife is at least a couple decades younger than him? Let’s suppose that the donor is 71 and his wife is 47, for example. Would you be willing to entertain a discussion about a gift annuity written for the joint lives of these two individuals?