8 Compelling Things Your Executive Board Should Know About Gift Planning

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If your organization (like many others) doesn’t value gift planning as part of your overall fundraising approach, here are eight compelling facts your Board should know:

  1. According to a landmark study conducted by John Havens and Paul Schervish for the Boston College Social Welfare Institute, over $41 trillion in wealth is transferring from one generation to the next (from 1998 – 2052.) It is anticipated that over $6 trillion will be received by charities in the forms planned gifts.
  1. 91% of all the wealth in the United States is held by the Greatest/Silent and Baby Boomer Generations. The youngest member of this generation turns 50 years of age this year.
  1. 90% of all planned gifts will be bequests! (A bequest is a gift left in a Will). That’s 9 out of every 10 planned gifts! If you’re just beginning your planned giving efforts, keep it simple and talk about bequest with your donors – and you’ll be very successful!
  1. The average bequest in the United States is between $35K – $70K. Secure 15 of these from donors and you’ll have identified and/or raised over $1 million!
  1. Once a bequest is included in a will the likelihood that the organization will receive the gift is over 90%!
  1. Only 2% of all planned gifts will come in the form of a Trust. So don’t get all caught up about all those technically confusing gift planning options such as Charitable Lead Trusts (CRLT), Charitable Remainder Unitrusts (CRUT), and Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts (CRAT) that can overwhelm and cause people to take no action. If you find a donor who wants to know more about these planning strategies, you very likely have someone within your volunteer base who has the required expertise and would gladly help arrange this gift.
  1. 70% to 90% of all bequests will be unknown to the charity until after donor’s death. Sadly this is a huge missed opportunity to thank donors who obviously believe in your organization and its future. However, your organization can overcome this challenge by having an active Heritage or Legacy Society.
  1. Finally, the fruits of your efforts may not develop overnight but it won’t take as long as you might think. One study conducted by the Lilly Endowment found that organizations that actively pursued planned gifts increased revenue by 65% within 5 years while also growing their endowment 33% – in contrast to just a 3% increase for those schools that didn’t have a program in place.

The greatest transfer of wealth and philanthropy is coming. Is your organization positioned to receive some of it? Shouldn’t it be?

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