We hope that you’ll pardon the title of this article, which is a modification of the infamous James Carville campaign mantra in 1992 – “it’s the economy, stupid!” As was the case with the original phrase, this expression is meant to be tongue-in-cheek and self-directed. The tax legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President last December seems to have rendered the itemizing of personal deductions much less beneficial for large numbers of Americans. There has been considerable discussion among fundraising professionals that the result will be a dramatic decrease in charitable contributions. Whether or not you agree with that assertion, this article is about something else - the realization that the possible benefits of reducing taxes on realized capital gains by contributing appreciated securities for split-interest gift arrangements remain as powerful as ever.
The new tax law has prompted many articles on a variety of topics. One topic, gifts of non-cash assets, is getting a lot of attention due to the most recent research from Professor Russell James. Professor James’ report, Cash is not King in Fundraising: Results from 1 Million Tax Returns, provides proof of what many fundraisers already know, but often have difficulty communicating or acting on.
It’s simply a matter of supply and demand - when demand outstrips supply, prices rise. That is the state of today’s real estate market in many parts of the country, and therein lies the opportunity for gifts of real estate. According to statistics issued by the National Association of Realtors, in April 2018 the median already-built home price rose 5.3% over the prior year, the 74th straight month there’s been an increase in the price of already-built homes. At the same time, the number of homes for sale fell over the prior year for the 35th consecutive month. In short, supply is limited and demand is outstripping supply, causing prices to rise for already-built homes.
Eight years ago, I wrote a post discussing the role of social media in planned giving based on an interview with Beth Kanter, a leading expert on the use of social media by non-profits. It’s amazing how much and how little has changed in that time. While social media has taken off for outright giving, it remains primarily a vehicle for engagement and stewardship for planned giving.
The American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) just released its new recommended gift annuity rates, effective July 1, 2018. In general, the rates will increase by .3% to .5%. For a look at the rates and PG Calc’s analysis of the change, read our recent blog post. Changes in the ACGA suggested rates, up or down, create the chance for communication with current annuity donors and those considering a gift annuity. The current rate increase certainly offers opportunities for additional annuities from existing annuitants. But more importantly, the rate increase will likely motivate others considering an annuity to make their first gift. This means increased diversification of your pool, thereby reducing your long-term risk.