Archive for March 9th, 2012

March 9, 2012

20 Factoids about Planned Giving. Some May Surprise You.

There is no such thing as a “typical” planned giving program.

The reality is that there are an infinite variety of such programs. They come in various forms in varied degrees of sophistication. Planned giving programs vary by organization type, donor population, organizational budget, and a host of other factors.

A small organization with a limited budget and a modest individual-donor pool may simply promote the idea of naming the charity in a will. By contrast, a large organization with a significant development budget may promote a broad array of planned giving vehicles from bequests to charitable gift annuities to trusts.

Despite the differences from one planned giving program to the next, there are a large number of points of commonality.

This list of 20 factoids about planned giving has been drawn from my book Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing. I’m sharing it here because I’ve found, when I’m speaking around the country, that these are some of the tidbits that people have found particularly interesting and/or that they have been surprised by. Here are the factoids:

1.  Bequests are generally regarded as the most common form of planned gift. Charitable gift annuities come in at a far distant second.

2.  Almost everyone has the ability to make a planned gift. Planned giving is not just for the wealthy. Consider the following:

  • Among survey respondents over age 30, 69 percent expect to leave an inheritance. (The Stelter Company)
  • People over the age of 50 control 70 percent of all privately held financial assets in the United States. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • A 2005 study found that 50.3 percent of U.S. households owned equities in some form. (Investment Company Institute and Securities Industry Association)

3.  Bequests are the major gift of the middle class. Many individuals wish they could provide significant current support to the nonprofit organizations they love. Unfortunately, they’re not in a financial position to do so. They either don’t have the cash to give or need to preserve their resources to live off of during retirement. Planned giving gives these individuals the opportunity to make a significant gift without pain. For example, a donor can leave her home to her favorite charity upon her death. Or, a donor can give to his favorite organization and receive an income for life. Planned giving allows donors to make more significant gifts than they might otherwise be able to make.

4.  The average age of someone who makes their first charitable bequest commitment is 40-50. This means there is a great deal of time between when the donor includes a charity in his will and when the gift will be realized. That’s one reason why sound stewardship is essential. A nonprofit organization wants to remain in the donor’s will and encourage the amount of that commitment to grow overtime.

5.  High-income women are more likely than men to use complex gift planning tools. While it is unclear why this is the case, we do know that high-income women are more willing than men to establish a trust, for example. You can read more about the giving of women by reading my post “Men v. Women: Who are the Best Planned Giving Prospects?”

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